Jacinda Ardern had already broken new ground as a pregnant woman—and then a new mother—leading a nation. And this year, the 38-year-old Prime Minister showed the world her fullness as a leader as she deftly, empathetically, and humbly navigated New Zealand through the worst terror attack in its history, after 50 were killed at two mosques in Christchurch in March.
Rallying people behind the theme “We are one,” she channeled the country’s—and Muslim community’s—grief as she opened speeches with Arabic greetings and quietly wore a head scarf. She set a standard for dignity in the face of violence by refusing to speak the attacker’s name. And she won near-unanimous support for a ban on semiautomatic weapons of the kind used in the attack. Future leaders can look to Ardern for a master class in how to guide a country through a crisis.