We track four people on their journey.
Caught in the crossfire of the US war on gangs
18 Jul 2007 10:42 GMT | Arts & Culture
Kirzan Ilyumzhinov, the president of KalmykiaIn Meet the President Al Jazeera gains exclusive access to world leaders who - for a variety of reasons - are more than just presidents.
In this episode of Meet the President Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull travels to the Russian Republic of Kalmykia to meet its chess-loving president, Kirzan Ilyumzhinov.
Situated on the north-western shores of the Caspian Sea, Kalmykia is the only Buddhist nation in Europe.
It is also one of Europe's poorest and least developed regions, although Ilyumzhinov has big plans to change that and says he can see the country being not only one of the richest republics in the Russian Federation but in the world.
He made his first million US dollars when he was just 26 and when he was elected as president in 1993 he began investing his own money in the country.
He tells Al Jazeera that he has spent more than $2billion on roads and schools. Ten years ago there were no roads in Kalmykia, there were no gas pipelines and few houses had running water.
Now roads - albeit very bumpy ones - are appearing, 90 per cent of people can get gas in their homes and most households have running water.
But one of the achievements of which Ilyumzhinov is most proud is his nation's love of chess. He takes Jonah Hull on a tour of Kalmykia's Chess City.
Watch this documentary of Meet the President here:
This documentary of Meet the President aired from 28 May 2007
Watch Part One here:
Watch Part Two here:
To contact us click on 'Send your feedback' at the top of the page
Watch Al Jazeera English programmes on YouTube
West Bengal long suffered cancerous effects of arsenic-laced water, but projects to provide clean water show promise.
Health, Poverty & Development, Environment
Muslim fashion designers reflect on a rapidly growing industry.
Arts & Culture, Islam, Business & Economy
Americans' passports could be seized if they owe more than $50,000 in taxes, but could this law be unfairly applied?
Business & Economy, United States, Politics
How peat swamp destruction in Malaysia is causing devastating health problems and irreversible environmental damage.
Environment, Climate Change, Climate SOS
South Koreans drink twice as much liquor as Russians, but is this national obsession with alcohol reversible?
Health, Asia, South Korea
How improving relations between communist Cuba and the capitalist US will change the lives of people on both sides.
Politics, United States, Cuba
Mayotte is a magnet for Comoros islanders who risk their lives crossing hazardous seas in search of a better life.
Poverty & Development, France, Refugees
A three-part series looking at the history of France's black community and their long struggle for recognition.
Politics, US & Canada, France