Fatafehi Fakafānua, Speaker, Legislative Assembly of Tonga
Fatafehi Fakafanua became one of the youngest-ever members of Parliament in Tongan history at the age of 24. Three years later, he assumed the role of Speaker of Parliament as the youngest person ever elected to that office by Tonga’s Parliament and the youngest presiding Speaker in the world. Over the course of his political career, Fakafanua has spearheaded monumental changes in the Tongan Parliament, including presiding over major political reforms, advocating for greater representation of women and youth in Parliament, advocating for the reduction of illicit drugs, and conserving Tonga’s unique land tenure system. During his term as Speaker of Parliament, Fakafanua sat on international fora such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Executive (CPA–EXCO) as a representative of Australasia. He also entered the Tongan Parliament into the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) as the 164th member. Having left Parliament in 2014 to pursue further studies, Fakafanua completed a master of arts in diplomacy, law, and business at O. P. Jindal Global University in India. He returned to politics in the 2017 general elections, in which he was again elected Speaker; he was reelected in the 2021 general elections as the incumbent Speaker of Parliament.