Development Academy – UK based personal development consultancy – came up with a list of the top 10 most eloquent world leaders.
In coming to their conclusion Development Academy said they “analysed more than 100 hours of footage from press conferences, assemblies, political events and other public appearances over the last 12 months to rank the most eloquent heads of state based on their communication and public speaking skills.”
So the top ten world leaders Development Academy decided on was as follows:
1. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
2. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
3. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
4. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
5. Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland
6. Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Denmark
7. Emmanuel Macron, President of France
8. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway
9. Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of Italy
10. Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia
I agree with Ardern and Merkel being in the top ten. Ardern is one of the best political communicators I have seen in the 4 decades I have followed politics. Merkel is just in a class of her own.
It’s moment like this I want to wave the Non-Align-leaders-matter flag, but I digress.
When surveys and analyses are conducted on certain issues you can guarantee that the usual nations always end up in the top ten i.e. Canada, New Zealand, German, Scandinavian nations and Australia.
- I could not have Modi in my top 10. But I would have had his chief rival Imran Khan (Prime Minister of Pakistan). Khan’s eloquent statesmanship has prevented his country from going to certain war with Modi over Kashmir. Development Academy stated that “Mr Modi engages very well with his audience, using plenty of eye contact and positive body language to help convey his messages.” I presume there were no feedback from the Muslim community of this assessment of Modi given Modi nationalist persuasions since coming to power. But Khan has faced criticism over his silence on the treatment of Uyghur Muslims by the his pals in Chinese government.
- In their review of Justin Trudeau, Development Academy said “Mr Trudeau is a very clear speaker, which allows him to connect with people easily.” Have the assessors at Development Academy really studied Trudeau’s performance in the past 18 months with open eyes? Trudeau has been marred by multiple corruption scandals where he has been coy, evasive and at times obnoxious in his communications. In fact the more he spoke the less convincing came across outside of his loyal supporters. Turns out JT was not so truthful at times which has damaged his credibility and his party losing their overall majority in parliament. e.g. the current WE scandal has put Trudeau and his finance minister on the brink over his judgement and trust with the public. The JT charm offensive has long worn off.
- Merkel the finest world leader of the last 4 decades?
- Ardern is top class. One unique thing about Ardern’s leadership is her ability to just pick up the phone and join a discussion on radio to add substance to the debate going on via the airwaves. Never shy in taking on the tough questionings head on.
- Having Sturgeon so high is interesting. She seems to have done the best of all the home nations leaders in relation to the pandemic. Not easily flustered when facing public scrutiny by the media.
My own top ten most eloquent leaders would be:
- Mia Mottley (Prime Minister of Barbados) – Charming and blunt in a mature respectful measured manner. Not afraid to tell Uncle Sam where to go. The Caribbean has a gem of a leader in its midst.
- Nana Akufo-Addo (President of Ghana) – Now this man is eloquence personified both locally and on the international stage. Charmed his way across the Caribbean and the US in 2019 with his “Come back home/Year of Return” message and gifts.
- Tsai Ing-wen (President of Taiwan) – Holds her her own against her cousins in the north. Much is said of Ardern and Merkel’s handling of COVID-19 but President Tsai set the benchmark long ahead of any leader. For Geo-political reasons few global leaders have feared heaping praise on her publicly for fear of upsetting China.
- Pope Francis (Vatican City)
- Keisha Lance Bottoms (Mayor of Georgia)
- Imran Khan (Prime Minister of Pakistan)
- Roosevelt Skerrit (Prime Minister of Dominica)
- Lee Hsien Loong (Prime Minister of Singapore)
- Ralph Gonsalves (Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines)
Great publicity for Development Agency though who also gave some useful tips on public speaking.
The world leader that I found to be the most eloquent in my lifetime on this planet is the late former Jamaican PM Michael Manley. He just had something that even when he was angry on the political platform it came across with charm and enthrallment.
It would be a far easier task to come up some of the most charmless and insolent current world leaders including the likes of
- Donald Trump
- Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil)
- Rodrigo Duterte (Philipines)
- Viktor Orbán (Hungary)
- Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel)
- Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Eqypt)
- Yoweri Museveni (Uganda)
- Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Turkey)
- John Magufuli (Tanzania)
- Alexander Lukashenko (Belarus)
- Vladimir Putin ?
In some of the above mentioned nations/names eloquence just does not cut it, if such individuals get to win power and fulfill ambitions to remain in office for life.
In the meantime, we can watch for ourselves a pivotal moment when Prime Minister Mottley and President Nana Akufo-Addo shared a public platform in Bridgetown, Barbados in 2019.