Background: In 2008, he became the first democratically elected president of the Maldives, defeating Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had ruled since 1978.
Early years: Nasheed was at the forefront of the Maldives's struggle for democracy. As a young leader, he was arrested, imprisoned and tortured for his political activities.
Recent achievements: He made international headlines with his innovative methods of fighting climate change. He held the world's first underwater cabinet meeting, a symbolic move to highlight the threat to his country from rising sea levels.
Awards: In 1991, Amnesty International declared Nasheed a "prisoner of conscience." Time magazine named him a "Hero of the Environment" this year.