According to the British Council, 38% of Nobel prize winners studied in the UK, a percentage bigger than any other country’s whose educational system shaped the minds of the elites.  Most recently, in 2013, American cell biologist, Randy Schekman, who studied at the University of Edinburgh as an undergraduate student, won the prize for Physiology and Medicine.

At the global level, some of the most important and recognised social, business and political leaders have studied in the UK.

Former Belgian prime-minister Elio Di Ruppo completed a PhD in chemistry at the University of Leeds, where he was a lecturer in the late 1970s.

Former President of Colombia, Manuel Santos, graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a master’s degree in 1975.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark spent time at two UK universities in the 1960s, studying prehistoric archaeology at Cambridge University (Girton College), before attending the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Former President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, attended the University of Manchester between 1962 and 1970, earning a PhD in political science.

Former Indian Prime-Minister, Manmohan Singh, studied economics at Cambridge (St John’s College) in 1952, and completed a doctorate at Oxford (Nuffield College) 10 years later.

Irish President, Michael Higgins, spent three years studying sociology at the University of Manchester in the late 1960s.
Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong studied mathematics at the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) in the 1970s.

Benazir Bhutto served as Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996. She was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim majority nation. She had earned her first B.A. in Comparative Government at Harvard University.
She then got her second B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford. There, she was the President of the Oxford Union, the famous English debating society, an experience which was no doubt helpful when speaking in front of thousands of Pakistanis.

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Bishop Desmond Tutu was an undergraduate and postgraduate student in King’s College, London.

Political ethicist and lawyer Mahatma Ghandi was a law student at Inner Temple, London, in 1888.

Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Dame Zaha Hadid was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the first woman awarded the Royal Gold medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects. She graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.

Greek-American journalist and entrepreneur, Arianna Huffington, founded Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper the Huffington Post and has authored 15 books. She attended the University of Cambridge, where she earned a degree in economics.