At this year's TIME 100 gala, which I hosted along with Time Inc. News Group president Mark Ford, Bill Clinton summed up our annual special issue with these words: "This TIME 100 is the celebration of our common humanity across age and culture and race and region and talent." Much of that talent was in the room--from country singer Taylor Swift to skating champ Kim Yu-Na to paleoanthropologist Tim White. President Clinton cited the example of Valentin Abe, whose work on sustainable fishing in Haiti is helping feed countless families there. Every year, we ask some of our most-influentials to toast someone who has influenced them. Elizabeth Warren paid tribute to her grandmother's fighting spirit; Ben Stiller raised a glass to his mother; Sarah Palin praised the virtues of working Americans. Their words were a reminder that often the people who influence us most aren't those in power but those who empower us to act. I hope you enjoy these pictures from the evening.
Richard Stengel, MANAGING EDITOR