Typically, elected political leaders wield the most influence. However, there are also many powerful leaders in the fields of religion, innovation, business, social media, and entertainment who are not involved in politics.
Due to their large following and cult status, these individuals are regarded as thought leaders and influencers. Here is a list of the most powerful individuals in the world as of 2022.
The Five Most Powerful People in the World
1. Xi Jinping
Since 2013, Xi Jinping has served as the president of the People’s Republic of China. Even though the western world perceives him as a dictator or an authoritarian leader due to an increase in mass surveillance, a loss of human rights, and censorship of news, the Internet, and events, he is regarded as the most powerful person in the world.
He served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission before becoming president of China. He was born in Beijing in 1953 as the second son of Xi Zhongxun, a veteran of the Chinese Communist Party.
Xi earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from Tsinghua University. To ensure a solid grip on the governing party, he repealed China’s presidential term restrictions in 2018 by amending the country’s constitution.
Xi has extended governmental control over the Chinese economy while also supporting the private sector. When it comes to China-related security concerns, he is a hardliner, and he is also growing his influence in South Africa and Europe. He portrays China as more forceful and nationalistic on the international stage.
2. Vladimir Putin
The second most influential person in the world is Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was a former intelligence officer and has served as Russia’s president since 2012. He served as Russia’s prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012
Putin was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and received his law degree from Leningrad State University in 1975. Before entering politics, Putin served as a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years and got to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Putin issued an unexpected order for military action in eastern Ukraine on February 24 amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis. His full-scale invasion has driven locals to flee for their lives, resulting in the deaths of 50 individuals, including 10 civilians and 40 Ukrainian soldiers.
In a televised speech, he cautioned western nations not to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs, or the Russian action would have “consequences they have never seen.” He stated that Russia’s objective is not to occupy Ukraine, but that the Ukrainian government will bear the costs of conflict.
3. Joe Biden
Joe Biden is the current vice president of the United States of America and one of the world’s most influential politicians. In 2020, he succeeded Donald Trump as the 46th president of the United States. As a member of the Democratic Party, he served as vice president from 1973 to 2009 while representing Delaware as a senator.
Biden was born in Pennsylvania in 1942 and received his law degree from Syracuse University in 1968. He is the oldest president elected in United States history and the first to have a female and African/Asian-American vice president in Kamala Harris.
In his first two days as president, Biden signed 17 executive orders, most of which were aimed at reversing the majority of Trump’s foreign policies, particularly in the areas of immigration and climate change.
4. Angela Merkel
Since 2005, Angela Merkel has served as chancellor of Germany, making her the most powerful woman in the world. Prior to becoming chancellor in 2005, she was opposition leader from 2002 to 2005. From 2000 through 2018, Merkel was the head of the Christian Democratic Union.
She is the first female German chancellor and is regarded as the de facto leader of the European Union. Merkel was born in then-West Germany’s Hamburg. From 1973 to 1978, Merkel completed her study at Leipzig’s Karl Marx University, where she studied physics. Her degree was awarded for her dissertation in quantum chemistry.
Prior to entering politics, she worked as a scholar for three years and authored numerous publications till 1989.
In 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, she joined a new party, Democratic Awakening, which ultimately merged with the East German Christian Democratic Union.
This event marked a significant turning point in her political career. Merkel served briefly as the first democratically elected East German government’s deputy spokeswoman.
5. Jeff Bezos
In 2022, Jeff Bezos is the first American entrepreneur to appear on the list of the world’s most influential individuals. He is the creator and chief executive officer of the global technology business Amazon. According to Forbes, as of June 2021, his projected net worth exceeds $200 billion, making him the wealthiest and most powerful person in the world.
Born in 1964, Mr. Bezos attended Princeton University to study electrical engineering and computer science. Before founding Amazon in 1994, he spent nearly eight years in a number of professions on Wall Street.
Amazon, which began as an online bookshop, now provides a vast array of e-commerce goods and services, including cloud computing, video/audio streaming, and artificial intelligence.
With $400 billion in sales, it is now the largest online sales corporation in the world. Due to his interest in space travel, Bezos launched the suborbital spaceflight services company Blue Origin in 2000.