U.S. President Barack Obama will turn 50 years old on Thursday. Although he entered The White House at the relatively young age of 47, he is nonetheless a geriatric compared to the youngest leader on earth.
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, aged 31, is the king of Bhutan, a tiny kingdom in the Himalayas. He was born February 21, 1980 (when Obama was already in college).
Wangchuck ascended the throne on Dec. 14, 2006, when his father, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, abdicated. However, the current king’s coronation was not held until Nov. 1, 2008, when he was 28 years old.
Wangchuck has a strong Western pedigree, having studied at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., Cushing Academy and Wheaton College in Massachusetts. He subsequently graduated from Magdalen College, University of Oxford, in England.
He continued the democratic reforms of his father and has pushed for higher standards in education, civil service and business.
In July 2008, a new constitution was adopted in Bhutan by the first ever elected members of parliament, under Wangchuck’s endorsement.
Like Obama, he is also an avid basketball player.