2020 World Leaders: A Pronunciation Guide

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This guide lists the names, titles, and pronunciations of a wide range of foreign leaders from around the world. This is not a comprehensive list; it particularly includes countries that are critically important to US national security and foreign policy.

The names and titles are from the CIA World Fact Book and recent media sources. Foreign leaders for each country are listed in descending order of potential engagement with US policymakers. Pronunciations are based primarily on Voice of America’s pronunciation guide. Upcoming election information has also been included for positions with scheduled elections.



Head of State: President Abdelmadjid Tebboune

 (ab-dahl-mah-JEED teh-BOON)

Since: December 12, 2019

Democratic Republic of Congo

Head of State: President Felix Tshisekedi

(fee-LIKS chee-seh-KEH-dee)

Since: January 25, 2019

Next Election: December 2023


Head of State: President Ismail Omar Guelleh

(HIHS-mah-ihl  OH-mahr  GEH-leh)

Since: May 8, 1999

Next Election: April 2021

Head of Government: Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed

(Ab-dool-kaw-der Kah-meel  moh-HAH-mehd)

Since: April 1, 2013

Appointed by the president


Head of State: President Abdel Fattah el-sisi

(AHB-dehl FAH-tah ah-SEE-see)

Since: June 8, 2014

Next Election: March 2024

Head of Government: Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly

(mohs-tah-fah mad-BOOL-ee)

Since: June 14, 2018

Appointed by the president


Head of State: President Uhuru Kenyatta

(oo-HOO-roo  kehn-YAH-tah)

Since: April 9, 2013

Next Election: August 2022


Prime Minister (Government of National Accord): Fayiz al-Saraj

(FAH-yehz al sahr-RAJ)

Since: March 30, 2016

Prime Minister (National Salvation Government): Khalifa al-Ghawil

(kah-LEE-fah al-GAH-weel)

Since: October 14, 2016

Field Marshal (Libyan National Army): Khalifa Haftar

(kah-LEE-fah HAHF-tar)

Since: March 2, 2015


Head of State: President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

(EE-brah-hihm BOO-bah-kahr KAY-tah)

Since: September 4, 2013

Next Election: July 2023

Head of Government: Prime Minister Boubou Cisse


Since: April 23, 2019

Appointed by the president


Head of State: King Mohammed VI


Since: July 22, 1999

Head of Government: Prime Minister Saad Eddine al-Othmani

(SAHD eh-DEEN ooth-MAH-nee)

Since: March 17, 2017

Appointed by the king


Head of State: President Mahamadou Issoufou


Since: April 7, 2011

Next Election: February 2021

Head of Government: Prime Minister Brigi Rafini

(BREE-ghee RAH-fee-nee)

Since: April 7, 2011

Appointed by the president


Head of State: President Muhammadu Buhari

(moo-hah-MAH-doo boo-HAH-ree)

Since: May 29, 2015

Next Election: February 2023


Head of State: President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed

(moh-HAH-mehd ahb-dah-LAH-hee moh-HAH-mehd)

Since: February 16, 2017

Next Election: February 2022


Head of State: President Kais Saied

(KAY-ees SIGH-eed)

Since: October 23, 2019

Next Election: 2024


Head of State: President Paul Kagame

(PAWL kah-GAH-meh)

Since: March 24, 2000

Next Election: August 2024

South Africa 

Head of State: President Cyril Ramaphosa

(SIH-rehl rah-mah-POH-sah)

Since: February 15, 2018

Next Election: May 2024

South Sudan3

Head of State: President Salva Kiir Mayardit

(SAHL-vah KEER M-EYE-ahr-diht)

Since: July 23, 2016

Next Election: July 2021

First Vice President: Riek Machar

(ree-EHK mah-SHAHR)

Since: February 22, 2020

Appointed by the president


Chairman of the Sovereignty Council: Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

(AHB-dehl FAH-tah al-BOOR-han)

Since: August 20, 2019


Head of State: President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa

(EHM-ehr-sohn muh-nahn-GAHG-wah)

Since: November 24, 2017

Next Election: July 2023



Head of State: President Ashraf Ghani

(ahsh-RAHF gah-NEE)

Since: September 21, 2014

Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation:  Dr. Abdullah Abdullah

(ahb-DUH-LAH ahb-DUH-LAH)

Since: September 29, 2014 (previously the Chief Executive Officer)

Appointed by the president in May 2020


Head of State: President Abdul Hamid

(ahb-DUHL hah-MEED)

Since: April 24, 2013

Head of Government: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

(SHAYK hah-SEE-nah)

Since: January 6, 2009

Burma (Myanmar)

Head of Government: State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi


Since: April 6, 2016

Appointed by the president

Head of State: President Win Myint

(win MYE-unt)

Since: March 30, 2018

Next Election: November 2020


Head of State: President Xi Jinping


Since: November 15, 2012

Next Election: March 2023

Hong Kong6

Head of Government: Chief Executive Carrie Lam


Since: July 1, 2017

Next Election: 2022

Head of State: President Xi Jinping


Since: November 15, 2012

Next Election: March 2023


Head of Government: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

(nah-REHN-drah MOH-DEE)

Since: May 26, 2014

Next Election: May 2024

Head of State: President Ram Nath Kovind

(raum nath Koh-vihnd)

Since: July 25, 2017

Next Election: July 2022


Head of Government: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe7

(SHEEN-zoh AH-bay)

Since: December 26, 2012

Next Election: October 22, 2021

Head of State: Emperor Naruhito


Since: May 1, 2019

North Korea

Head of State: Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un


Since: December 30, 2011


Head of Government: Prime Minister Imran Khan


Since: August 18, 2018

Next Election: October 12, 2023

Head of State: President Arif Alvi

(AH-rihf AL-vee)

Since: September 9, 2018

Appointed by the Electoral College


Head of State: President Rodrigo Duterte

(roe - DREE - go doo - TARE - tay)

Since: June 30, 2016

Next Election: May 9, 2022

South Korea 

Head of State: President Moon Jae-in


Since: May 10, 2017

Next Election: March 2022


Head of State: President Tsai Ing-wen


Since: May 20, 2016

Next Election: January 11, 2024



Head of Government: Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Since: August 24, 2018

Next Election: May 2022

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II

Since: February 6, 1952

New Zealand

Head of Government: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

(Jah-sin-da Ar-durn)

Since: October 26, 2017

Next Election: November 21, 2020

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II

Since: February 6, 1952



Head of Government: President Aleksandr Lukashenko

(Ahl-ehk-SAHN-dehr Loo-kah-SHEHN-kaw)

Since: 1994

Next Election: August 9, 20208


Head of Government: Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen

(MAY-tah Fred-er-rik-son)

Since: June 27, 2019

Next Election: June 2023 (based on an ability to achieve majority support in parliament)

Head of State: Queen Margrethe II


Since: January 14, 1972


Head of State: President Kersti Kaljulaid

(Keer-stee Kal-YU-layd)

Since: October 10, 2016

Next Election: October 2021


Head of Government: President Emmanuel Macron

(E-man-yoo-ell Ma-crohn)

Since: May 14, 2017

Next Election: April 2022

Head of State: Prime Minister Édouard Philippe

(ehd-WAHR fee-LEEP)

Since: May 15, 2017


Head of State: President Salome Zourabichvili

(SAH-loh-may zoo-rah-BEESH-vee-lee)

Since: December 16, 2018

Next Election: November 2024


Head of Government: Chancellor Angela Merkel

(ahn-GAY-lah M-AIR-kl)

Since: November 22, 2005

Next Election: October 2021

Head of State: Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

(FRAHNK VAHL-tehr SHT-EYE-N-m-eye-her)

Since: March 19, 2017

Next Election: February 2022


Head of Government: Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

(kee-ree-AH-kohss meet-soh-TAH-kees)

Since: July 8, 2019

Head of State: President Katerina Sakellaropoulou 

(kah-tayr-EEN-uh SAH-keh-lar-oh-poo-loh)

Since: March 13, 2020

Next Election: February 2025

Holy See (Vatican City) 

Head of State (Supreme Pontiff): Pope Francis

Since: March 13, 2013


Head of Government: Prime Minister Viktor Orban

(VIHK-tohr OHR-bahn)

Since: May 29, 2010

Next Election: April 2022

Head of State: President Janos Ader

(YAH-noosh AHD-air)

Since: May 10, 2012

Next Election: March 2022


Head of Government: Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar

(TEE-SHOOK Leo Var-ad-kar)

Since: June 1, 2018

Appointed by the President

Head of State: President Michael Daniel Higgins

Since: September 11, 2011

Next Election: October 2025


Head of Government: Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

(Jee-u-zeh-peh Kon-te)

Since: June 1, 2018

Next Election: May 2022

Head of State: President Sergio Mattarella

(ser-gih-oh mat-tah-rel-lah)

Since: February 3, 2015

Next Election: January 2022


Head of State: President Egils Levits

(EHG-eehls LEH-vitss)

Since: July 8, 2019

Next Election: 2023

Head of Government: Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins

(KRIS-chn KOOR-inss)

Since: January 23, 2019

Next Election: October 2022


Head of State: President Gitanas Nauseda

(gee-TAH-nahss NOH-seh-duh)

Since: July 12, 2019

Next Election: May 2024

Head of Government: Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis

(SOO-lee-us skarn-nae-lis)

Since: December 13, 2016

Next Election: October 11, 2020


Head of State: President Andrzej Duda

(awn-jay doo-duh)

Since: August 6, 2015

Next Election: 2025

Head of Government: Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki

(Mah-tey-oosh More-ah-vyets-kee)

Since: December 11, 2017


Head of State: President Vladimir Putin

(vlah-DEE-meer POO-tihn)

Since: May 7, 2012

Next Election: 20369

Head of Government: Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin

(mihk-EYE-el mee-SHOO-stihn)

Since: January 16, 2020


Head of Government: President Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon

(Pey-dro San-chez)

Since: June 2, 2018

Next Election: November 2023

Head of State: King Felipe VI


Since: June 19, 2014


Head of State: President Volodymry Zelensky

(VOH-loh-dee-meer zeh-LEHN-skee)

Since: March 4, 2020

Next Election: March 2024

Head of Government: Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal

(DEH-niss SHMOOY-hahl)

Since: May 20, 2019

United Kingdom 

Head of Government: Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Since: July 24, 2019

Next Election: May 2024

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II

Since: February 6, 1952

Middle East 


Head of State: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

(HAH-mahd bihn EE-sah al-kah-LEE-fah)

Since: March 6, 1969

Head of Government: Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa

(EE-sah bihn  SAL-mahn  al kah-LEE-fah)

Since: January 19, 1969


Head of Government: President Hasan Fereidun Rohani

(hah-SAHN roh-hah-NEE)

Since: August 3, 2013

Next Election: June 2021

Head of State: Supreme Leader (Ayatollah) Ali Hoseini-Khamenei

(eye-ah-toh-LAH  ah-LEE  hah-mehn-a-EE)

Since: June 4, 1989


Head of Government: Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi

(MOO-stah-fah ahl-KAH-deh-mee)

Since: April 9, 2020

Next Election: October 2022

Head of State: President Barham Salih

(BAHR-hahm SAH-leh)

Since: October 2, 2018

Next Election: October 2022


Head of State: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

(BEHN-juh-min neht-an-YAH-hoo)

Since: March 31, 2009

Next Election: 202110

Head of Government: President Reuben Rivlin

(ROO-vihn RIHV-lihn)

Since: July 24, 2014

Next Election: 2021


Head of State: King Abdullah II


Since: February 7, 1999

Head of Government: Prime Minister Omar Al-Razzaz

(OH-mahr al-RASS-ehss)

Since: June 4, 2018


Head of State: Amir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah

(suh-BAH al-ah-mawd al-jaw-beer al-suh-BAH)

Since: January 29, 2006

Head of Government: Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah

(sah-BAH al- KAH-lehd ah-sah-BAH)

Since: November 19, 2019


Head of Government: Prime Minister Mustapha Adib11

(MOO-stah-fah ah-DEEB)

Since: January 21, 2020

Appointed by the president

Head of State: President Michel Aoun

(mee-SHELL   OW-N)

Since: October 31, 2016

Next Election: April 2022


Head of State: Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

(TAH-MEEM BIHN HAH-mahd al TAH-nee)

Since: June 25, 2013

Saudi Arabia

Head of State: King Salaman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud

(SAHL-mun BIN AH-bihd al ah-ZEES al-sah-OOD)

Since: January 23, 2015

Designated Successor: Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud

(moh-HAH-mehd BIN SAHL-mun)

Since: June 21, 2017


Head of State: President Bashar al-Assad

(bah-SHAHR ahl AH-sahd)

Since: July 17, 2000


Head of State: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan12

(eh-JEHP t-eye-YIHP ERR-doh-ahn)

Since: August 28, 2014

Next Election: June 2023

United Arab Emirates 

Head of State: President Khalida bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan

(kah-LEE-fah bihn ZAH-yehd al-nah-hah-YAHN)

Since: November 3, 2004

Head of Government: Prime Minister Vice President Muhammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum

(muh-HAH-mehd bihn rah-SHEED al mahk-TOOM)

Since: January 5, 2006

West Bank13

President Mahmoud Abbas14

(mah-MOOD ah-BAHS)

Since: January 15, 2005


Head of State: President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi

(AH-bd RAH-boh mahn-SOOR HAD-ee)

Since: February 27, 2012

North America / Central America 


Head of Government: Prime Minister Justin Pierre James Trudeau

(Justin TROO-doh)

Since: November 4, 2015

Next Election: October 16, 2023

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II

Since: February 6, 1952


Head of the Communist Party of Cuba: First Secretary Raul Castro

(Rah-ool KASS-troh)

Since: April 19, 2018

Next Election: March 2023

Head of State: President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez

(mee-GAYL DEE-ahss Kah-nel)

Since: April 19, 2018

Appointed by the National Assembly

El Salvador

Head of State: President Nayib Bukele

(nay-YEEB BOO-kay-lay)

Since: June 1, 2019

Next Election: February 2024


Head of State: President James Morales

(jay-mss moh-RAH-lays)

Since: June 1, 2019

Next Election: June 2023


Head of State: President Jovenel Moise

(JOH-veh-nehl MOYS)

Since: February 7, 2017

Head of Government: Prime Minister Jospeh Jouthe


Since: March 4, 2020


Head of State: President Juan Orlando Hernandez

(HWAHN ohr-LAHN-doh air-NAHN-dehs)

Since: January 27, 2014

Next Election: November 2021


Head of State: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

(ahn-DRAYS mahn-WEHL LOH-pehss oh-brah-DOOR)

Since: December 1, 2018

Next Election: July 2024


Head of State: President Daniel Ortega 

(dahn-YEHL ohr-TAY-gah)

Since: February 7, 1999

Next Election: November 2021

South America 


Head of State: President Alberto Fernández

(ahl-BEHR-toh fehr-NAHN-dess)

Since: December 10, 2019

Next Election: October 2023


Head of State: Interim President Jeanine Anez

(JUH-neen-ya AHN-yehss)

Since: November 12, 2019

Next Election: Postponed due to COVID-19


Head of State: President Jair Messias Bolsonaro

(jY-Ear Meh-CE-ASS  Bol-SOO-naro)

Since: January 1, 2019

Next Election: October 2022


Head of State: President Sebastian Pinera

(seh-bahst-YEHN peen-YEH-rah)

Since: March 11, 2018

Next Election: November 2021


Head of State: President Ivan Duque Marquez

(EYE-vun DOO-keh maar-kehz)

Since: August 7, 2018

Next Election: May 2022


Head of State: President Martin Vizcarra Cornejo

(Mar-teen viz-kar-ra corn-ne-ho)

Since: March 23, 2018

Next Election: April 2021


Head of State (Recognized as such by the United States and others): Interim President Juan Guaido15

(Juan gwy-DOH)

Since: January 10, 2019

Next Election: May 202416

Head of State and Government: President Nicolas Maduro

(nee-koh-LAHS mah-DOO-roh)

Since: April 19, 2013

Next Election: May 202417

Multilateral Organizations

International Monetary Fund

Managing Director: Kristalina Georgieva

(kriss-tuh-LEE-nuh Gor-ghee-ava)

Since: September 15, 2019

Next Election: 2024

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Secretary General: Jens Stoltenberg

(YEHNS STOHL-tehn-behrk)

Since: October 1, 2014

United Nations

Secretary General: António Guterres

(ahn-TOHN-yoo goo-TEH-rehsh)

Since: January 1, 2017

Next Election: March 2022

World Bank

President: David Malpass

Since: April 9, 2019

Next Appointment: February 2024


  1. Libya is experiencing an ongoing conflict among rival factions seeking to control the country. Primary belligerents include the Libyan National Army, the Government of National Accord (recognized as the official government by the United Nations), and the National Salvation Government.

  2. On August 18, the Mali military mutinied and removed President Keita and other officials from power. The military leaders claim to return the government back to civilian rule “within a reasonable time.” The United States has halted all military cooperation with the country. Diallo, Tiemoko and Ross, Aaron. “U.S. halts military cooperation with Mali as coup supporters celebrate.” Reuters, 21 Aug 2020. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mali-security/u-s-halts-military-cooperation-with-mali-as-coup-supporters-celebrate-idUSKBN25H190 Accessed 31 Aug 2020.

  3. South Sudan currently has a power sharing agreement in which President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition, agreed to form a transitional government making Machar the First Vice President. 

  4. In August 2019, the military council and civilian opposition alliance created the Sovereignty Council. General Abd-al-Fatah al-Burhan Abd-al-Rahman chairs the council, which consists of six civilians and five generals. The Sovereignty Council is currently led by the military but is intended to transition to civilian leadership in May 2021 when elections can be held.

  5. In May 2020, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah agreed to a power sharing agreement that allows Ghani to remain president and makes Abdullah in charge of negotiating the Afghan government’s peace deal with the Taliban, with both sides appointing 50% of the cabinet.

  6. China considers Hong Kong to be under Chinese sovereignty according to the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The United Kingdom and China signed this treaty on December 19, 1984 in Beijing. The Declaration states that the sovereign and administrative arrangement of Hong Kong would be transferred to China after July 1, 1997.

  7. Prime Minister Abe resigned on August 28th due to health reasons, but will remain in the position until his successor is chosen by the Liberal Democratic Party. 

  8. President Lukashenko claimed a sweeping victory after the August 9, 2020 elections, but the United States and other nations are “deeply concerned” about the validity of the election. Kelly, Laura. “US 'deeply concerned' over election in Belarus.” The Hill, 10 Aug. 2020. https://thehill.com/policy/international/511382-us-deeply-concerned-over-election-in-belarus Accessed 31 Aug 2020.

  9. A constitutional referendum was held in Russia, which ended on July 1, 2020. This referendum extended Vladimir Putin’s term as president until 2036.

  10. On May 20, 2020, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz signed an agreement on the formation of a national emergency government in which Netanyahu continues as prime minister for 18 months, upon which Gantz will replace him for the next 18 months.

  11. Mustapha Adib was named the prime minister on August 31st in response to the August 4th Beirut explosions.

  12. A 2017 constitutional referendum eliminated the prime minister position. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been considered head of government since July 9, 2019.

  13. As listed by the CIA World Factbook.

  14. Since 2007, the Palestinian Authority has administered parts of the West Bank under its control, mainly the major Palestinian population centers and areas immediately surrounding them.

  15. United States, White House. “Statement from President Donald J. Trump Recognizing Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela” 23 Jan. 2019. www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-donald-j-trump-recognizing-venezuelan-national-assembly-president-juan-guaido-interim-president-venezuela/. Accessed 30 Aug. 2020.

  16. Venezuela is currently experiencing a presidential crisis (as of June 14, 2019), which may affect projected election dates.

  17. Venezuela is currently experiencing a presidential crisis (as of June 14, 2019), which may affect projected election dates.