Annalena Baerbock was born on 15 December 1980 in Hanover, Germany. She has been Germany’s Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2021. Before becoming a minister, she served as the Party Chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen from 2018 to 2022. Just like her Canadian counterpart, Mélanie Joly, Annalena Baerbock is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders programme.
She studied Political Science at the University of Hamburg, before gaining a Master of Laws in Public International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. On her journey to the German Bundestag, Annalena Baerbock served as a staff member and office manager of Elisabeth Schroedter, a Member of the European Parliament and Party Chair in the state of Brandenburg from 2009 to 2013. She has been a member of the Bundestag since 2013.
Antony J. Blinken, USA
Antony J. Blinken was born on 16 April 1962 in Yonkers, New York. He became the 71st U.S. Secretary of State in early 2021. Over the course of his political career, Antony Blinken has held foreign policy roles in three different governments, including serving as deputy secretary of state for President Barack Obama from 2015 to 2017, and before that, as President Obama’s principal deputy national security advisor.
Blinken is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School, with degrees in Law and Political Science. Before taking up his various roles at the US State Department, he spent several years working in the corporate sector and journalism, as well as other industries. His journalistic career included a role as reporter for The New Republic magazine. He has also written about foreign policy for numerous publications, including the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine. In 1992, he took up a new role at the US State Department, where he started as a special assistant the former Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, and now leads the Department.
James Cleverly, United Kingdom
James Cleverly was born on 4 September 1969 in Birmingham, England. He was appointed as Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs by the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, on 6 September 2022. Prior to this, James Cleverly was Secretary of State for Education in Boris Johnson’s cabinet from July 2022 to September 2022.
Before embarking on his political career, Cleverly served in the British Army, but had to leave due to injury. He then gained a bachelor’s degree in business in London and spent several years working in the field of magazines and digital publishing.
James Cleverly is a member of the Conservative Party and served as its Co-Chairman from 2019 to 2020. He was first elected into parliament in 2015.
Catherine Colonna, France
Catherine Colonna was born on 16 April 1956 in Tours, France. She has served as the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs since May 2022. She is not affiliated with any party.
Before her appointment as French foreign minister, Colonna held several diplomatic posts, including as the French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Italy and the Republic of San Marino. Colonna studied Public Law and Political Studies, and gained a postgraduate degree in Public Law in 1978. After completing her studies, she began her career in French foreign policy in the USA, where she work at the French Embassy in Washington D.C. for four years.
In addition to her diplomatic service, she was also a major figure in the cultural sphere: Between 2004 and 2005, she was the President of Centre national de la Cinématographie (CNC) and Vice President of the Cannes Film Festival. Catherine Colonna has received multiple honours. She has been named Officer of the Legion of Honour, Officer of the National Order of Merit, and Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2022, she became only the third woman to be elevated to the rank of “Ambassadrice de France” (French Ambassador).
Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan
Yoshimasa Hayashi was born on 19 January 1961 in Shimonoseki, Japan. Hayashi has served as Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs in Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet since November 2021, and is a member of the current ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
After leaving school, he studied Law in Tokyo and then gained a Master of Public Administration at Harvard University in 1994. His transition into politics was almost seamless. Kishida was a member of both chambers of the Japanese parliament (Kokkai). Starting in 1995, he was elected into the Sangiin (the upper house of the parliament) five times in a row. He then moved to the Shūgiin (the lower house) in 2021.
Since 1995, he has held many different positions in government, making him an expert in several fields of politics. He has served as a Minister of Defence, Economic and Fiscal Policy, Agriculture and Education.
Mélanie Joly, Canada
Mélanie Joly was born on 16 January 1979 in Montreal, Canada. She has served as the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet since 2021. Mélanie Joly is a member of Canada’s Liberal Party, and was elected into the Canadian House of Commons in 2015. Before that, she served as Minister of Economic Development, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, and Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Mélanie Joly is a passionate advocate of Canadian culture and bilingualism in Canada: she promotes the use of the French language in Canada and around the world – both in literature and in the digital sphere.
Joly studied at the Université de Montréal and later Oxford University, where she gained her degree in European and Comparative Law in 2013. Before entering federal politics, Joly worked at several law offices and founded the Vrai changement pour Montréal party (”Real change for Montreal”).
Mélanie Joly has also written a book titled Changing the Rules of the Game, in which she addresses the topics of public policy and civic engagement. She has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Antonio Tajani, Italy
Antonio Tajani dedicated his political career to large swathes of Europe, serving for five terms in the European Parliament. His first stint ran from 1994 to 2008. He then took up a role in the European Commission as the European Commissioner for Transport, then for Industry and Entrepreneurship, before becoming the Vice-President of the European Commission. In 2014, he returned to the European Parliament, where he served as President from 2017 to 2019. In October 2022, he gave up his seat in the European Parliament to become a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. Tajani was among the founders of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party in 1993. Since 2018, he has been shaping the party in his roles as Vice-President and Coordinator.