Special Issue: The TIME 100

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New York – The editors of TIME Magazine name the 100 most influential people in the world now, in the new issue (on newsstands Monday, April 11th.) The “people who shape our world” are profiled in five categories: “Leaders and Revolutionaries,” “Builders and Titans,” “Artists and Entertainers,” “Scientists and Thinkers,” and “Heroes and Icons.”

In a letter to readers, TIME Managing Editor Jim Kelly writes, "How do you pick the 100 most influential men and women of 2005? Some people are obvious, thanks to their position; that is why George W. Bush is once again part of the Time 100, along with Hu Jintao of China. Some, I think it is fair to say, were not household names a year ago, such as Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine,” writes Kelly. “Some belong on the list because of how they set the agenda outside their day job (Bill Gates, for his charity work) or make their daytime-TV job into a guide for how to live a meaningful life (Oprah Winfrey). Others may be less obvious but by dint of their inventions (Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who gave us the BlackBerry), writings (Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code) or bravery in the face of pain (Melissa Etheridge) are leaving their impression on the world.”

“Last year, when we decided to select the current 100 most influential people of 2004, we compiled and debated hundreds of names, and this year the process was no less complicated. Fewer than 20 people from the 2004 list made this year’s list, which indicates that in our view their influence has dramatically increased over the past 12 months. If you were on last year’s list but not on this year’s, it does not necessarily mean your influence has waned, unless of course you’re John Kerry or Carly Fiorina,” writes Kelly.

“If I had to sum up the difference between last year and this year, I’d say the 2005 list is more about moral influence than political power,” says Kelly. “Once we made our selections, the fun began: asking the right person to make the case for the pick.”

TIME’s editors invited well-known people to write profiles of many of the 100 notables, here are a few:

∑ Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State for Nixon and Ford says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is handling the job with, “panache and conviction.”

∑ Actor Sean Penn calls director Clint Eastwood “Cinema’s Mount Rushmore.”

∑ Singer Lisa Marie Presley writes how musician Melissa Etheridge moved her when she performed at this year’s Grammy Awards, “I was bawling backstage.”

∑ Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Records, writes on Jay-Z: “I have seen my man Jay-Z spit a lyric instantaneously, without even having to take a breath…He epitomizes what it means to be cool.”

∑ Donald Trump, executive producer and host of The Apprentice, says Martha Stewart “had everything it takes to be that successful.”

∑ Author and co-founder of Ms. magazine Gloria Steinem writes that Oprah Winfrey “brings us the hard truths of life as well as the evidence for change.”

∑ James Carville, political strategist and CNN talk-show host writes, “If Rove wanted to switch parties, I’d take him up on it in a second.”

Sixteen named on the 2005 ‘TIME 100’ were also on last year’s TIME 100 list, including: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama, the Google Guys, Steve Jobs, Hu Jintao, Kim Jong Il, Nelson Mandela, Rupert Murdoch, Condoleezza Rice, Jeffrey Sachs, Lee Scott Jr., Ali Husaini Sistani, Oprah Winfrey, Meg Whitman, and Abu Mousab Al-Zarqawi.

The 2005 ‘TIME 100’ includes 82 men and 22 women, mostly individuals joined by 2 pairings, the Google guys and Blackberry co-founders and one trio, made up of the Halo video game creators. The is an international list– of the 100 icons on the list, 49 are from North America, 19 from Europe, 4 from Africa, 8 from the Middle East, 12 from Asia and 8 from the rest of the world.

At the close of the 20th century, TIME’s editors named the 100 most influential people of the past 100 years in a series of six issues, culminating with the selection of Albert Einstein as the Person of the Century. TIME revived the concept in 2004 as an annual issue on who has the most influence in the world right now.

‘TIME100’ Cover Package is available on Time.com: http://www.time.com/time/2005/time100/index.html

“The TIME 100, our annual list of the world’s most influential people, is all about individuals like Yushchenko, whose courage inspires others to action,” writes TIME’s Executive Editor Adi Ignatius, who spearheaded the special issue.

“This list isn't scientific. There's no way to quantify influence. But we take the list very seriously. I solicited proposals from all of our correspondents in the U.S. and overseas and spoke to many experts outside the magazine for advice in their fields,” says Ignatius. “We tried to pull together a list that got at all aspects of influence, from military might to life-changing innovation to inspirational artistry."

TIME.com features a downloadable audio file with Ignatius’ thoughts on the process of choosing the TIME 100:

http://www.time.com/time/2005/time100/audio/index.html

To celebrate the publication of the TIME 100 list, the magazine will bring together a select and remarkable group of people including TIME 100 notables and past TIME cover subjects at a black tie event on April 19th at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street, New York City. Three TIME 100 notables will perform for the 350+ guests and other TIME 100 notables will speak and toast individuals who influenced them. TIME last brought such a diverse group together, including 100 cover subjects in 1998 to celebrate TIME’s 75th anniversary at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Excerpts from TIME 100 profiles:

LEADERS AND REVOLUTIONARIES

∑ MAHMOUD ABBAS, Palestinian President: “Unlike Yasser Arafat, his predecessor as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, 70, has never craved power,” writes Dennis Ross, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of The Missing Peace. “To succeed, Abu Mazen must act decisively…Abu Mazen is in a race against time, and we had better do our part to help him win.” ∑ GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America: “Americans may question Bush’s leadership…but no one can deny that he is a leader. It’s his agenda that is being discussed at home, whether it’s Arab democracy, Social Security reform or the appointment of conservative judges…Bush may not get everything he wants, but he’ll get a lot of it, and he has already won some battles, such as the first wave of tort reform and Arctic drilling. Yet it is on foreign policy that Bush will ultimately be judged,” writes TIME’s Matthew Cooper.

∑ GORDON BROWN, UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer and Co-Creator of the Commission for Africa: “In Africa, Brown and Blair have rediscovered the wellspring of their commitment to politics, and when they speak of Africa, their rhetoric rises,” writes Bob Geldof, musician who inspired Live Aid and the Commission for Africa. “Brown is high-minded and earnest but not the brooding character of press lore… He is also patient: Brown seems ready to wait a while longer for the moment when many believe he will succeed Blair as Prime Minister.”

∑ HUGO CHAVEZ, President of Venezuela: “Chávez is a radical,” says a high-ranking U.S. official, “but he’s a radical with deep pockets.” Chávez insists he’s creating a more genuine, grass-roots democracy. “But if he finds a way to stay in power beyond 2012, the hemisphere may very well have its new Castro,” reports TIME’s Tim Padgett.

∑ BILL CLINTON, Former U.S. President: “The sad truth is, Clinton, 58, is trapped in the blandly noble life of a former President…But he maintains another, more intriguing and fitfully covert role as well: political kibitzer. It is the colloquy with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York—who qualifies as all four: friend, candidate, former aide and spouse—that is likely to arouse the most interest over the next few years and provide the most titillating potential job offer of all: to be America’s first First Gentleman,” writes TIME’s Joe Klein.

∑ BILL FRIST, Senate Majority Leader: Frist, 53, has a lot going for him…But recent political losses, like his clumsy handling of the Terri Schiavo case, leave him a long way from presidential stature, reports TIME’s Massimo Calabresi. His name recognition is slim. His polling numbers trail far behind Arizona Senator John McCain’s and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s.

∑ AYAAN HIRSI ALI, Dutch Politician and Producer of Submission: “I met Hirsi Ali, 35, last year during a book tour. Because I have written a blunt call for reform in Islam, a Dutch newspaper assigned her to interview me—heretic to heretic. The difference is, she has left Islam. I asked her if she thought I was naive for sticking with Allah. ‘Don’t go,’ she told me. ‘Islam needs you,’” writes Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble with Islam Today.

∑ JOHN HOWARD, Prime Minister of Australia: “Now beginning his fourth term as Australia’s Prime Minister, Howard, 65, the lawyer son of a Sydney garage owner, is cheerful and energetic, reminding some of Harry Truman. His power-walking start to each day, often in comically baggy shorts, encourages the comparison. Howard lacks Truman’s cactus-spike idiosyncrasies, and Australian voters occasionally flirt with the temptation to try someone more exciting,” writes Frank Devine, retired editor of The Australian.

∑ HU JINTAO, President of China: “Hu’s reticence to write himself more boldly may show he hasn’t fully prevailed over the Shanghai faction associated with his predecessor, Jiang Zemin. If he can accomplish that, we’ll see if he lives up to the hopes that he has a plan for political reform,” writes Orville Schell, Dean of the graduate school of journalism at U.C. Berkeley.

∑ KIM JONG II, Leader of North Korea: Kim Jong Il decided to announce for the first time that North Korea did in fact have nuclear weapons and no longer wanted any part of discussions aimed at getting rid of them…Nukes or no nukes and whether Washington likes it or not, Kim may stick around long enough to prove whether he meant what he said, writes TIME’s Bill Powell.

∑ MARK MALLOCH BROWN, Chief of Staff to Kofi Annan: “Charm, toughness, sophistication, experience, vision. These talents overflow in the person of Malloch Brown, and he’ll need every ounce of them he can muster for his new assignment, one of the toughest in the world. As Kofi Annan’s new chief of staff at a time of stress—and opportunity—for the United Nations,” writes Jeffrey Sachs, head of U.N.’s Millennium Project and author of The End of Poverty.

∑ THABO MBEKI, President of South Africa: “If Mandela helped unite a divided nation, Mbeki has set out to achieve something almost as difficult: to drag Africa into the international spotlight and spark an ‘African Renaissance’ that will bring democracy, peace and development,” writes William Mervin Gumede, South African journalist and author of Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC.

∑ BARACK OBAMA, Senator and Future of the Democratic Party: In only his fourth month in the Senate, Obama is still learning the rules of Washington, but he realizes many Americans have even greater hopes for him. It’s an almost impossible set of expectations, but for a man whose surname means “blessed by God,” nothing seems out of reach, writes TIME’s Perry Bacon.

∑ JOSEPH CARDINAL RATZINGER, The Pope’s Theological Enforcer: “Call him one of the first theo-conservatives—a former liberal mugged by what he saw as the reality of religious laxity. His response: to reassess the importance of the papacy as a means of asserting control over the church, to insist on the otherworldliness of religious faith and its imperviousness to changes in society,” writes TIME columnist Andrew Sullivan.

∑ CONDOLEEZZA RICE, Secretary of State: “Rice was sworn in as Secretary of State amid the greatest diplomatic upheaval in centuries. She is handling it with panache and conviction,” writes Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State for Nixon and Ford. “Despite recent progress, Rice, 50, is too much of a student of history not to know that we have witnessed but the first scene of a play in many acts and that final judgments must await the last scene. But it is not too soon to acknowledge the scope and intelligence of her effort and applaud the serenity with which it is being carried out.”

∑ DONALD RUMSFELD, Defense Secretary: Rumsfeld’s impact on the Pentagon will probably last well beyond his stay in his E-ring office. He has grasped the military by its lapels, shaken it firmly and demanded changes that are both unpleasant and needed, writes TIME’s Mark Thompson.

∑ ARIEL SHARON, Prime Minister of Israel: “To be sure, many Arabs—and Israelis—doubt Sharon’s sincerity…Yet Sharon seems serious about disengagement. If it leads to a general rollback from the Palestinian territories, Sharon may one day be remembered alongside Charles de Gaulle,” writes Benny Morris, author of The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited.

∑ CHEN SHUI-BIAN, President of Taiwan: “I am a maker of history,” Shui-bian told TIME last year. If that turns out to be so, let’s hope it’s because Chen proves to be a force for reconciliation across the Taiwan Strait, not for war over it, writes TIME’s Michael Elliott.

∑ MANMOHAN SINGH, Prime Minister of India: “The man in the blue turban, despite his great success, has remained approachable and ready to listen and instinctively sympathetic to the underdogs of society,” writes Amartya Sen, author of The Argumentative Indian.

∑ ALI HUSAINI SISTANI, Leader of Iraq’s Shi’ite Majority: Grand Ayatullah Ali Husaini Sistani, 74, has been the only widely acknowledged moral voice in Iraq. He rarely gives an opinion, but when he does, it is always on a groundbreaking issue of principle,” writes Kanan Makiya, founder of the Iraq Memory Foundation, which documents human rights abuse committed under Saddam Hussein. ∑ JAVIER SOLANA, Foreign Secretary of the E.U.: Forging a common foreign policy for the 25 members of the European Union is like herding cats. But since taking on that task in 1999, Javier Solana has demonstrated an uncanny gift for it. For Washington and the world, he has become an indispensable European, writes TIME’s James Graff.

∑ ABU MOUSAB Al-ZARQAWI, Terrorist Leader: “A letter from bin Laden to al-Zarqawi, recently intercepted by Western intelligence, asked al-Zarqawi to ‘attack the United States.’ That’s likely to push ever more scarce U.S. resources toward al-Zarqawi, even before it is clear he has a capacity to attack the U.S.,” writes Michael Scheuer author of Imperial Hubris and former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit desk.

ARTISTS AND ENTERTAINERS

∑ DAN BROWN, Author of The Da Vinci Code: The Da Vinci Code has sold 25 million copies in 44 languages worldwide. It’s perhaps worth noting that one of the only books to sell more copies than The Da Vinci Code in the past two years is the Bible, writes TIME’s Michele Orecklin.

∑ SANTIAGO CALATRAVA, Architect: “People recognize the natural sense of harmony and peace, and can then see themselves reflected in the architecture,” Calatrava tells TIME. Calatrava creates transcendent spaces that uplift the human spirit, writes TIME’s Daniel S. Levy.

∑ MARC CHERRY, Producer of ABC’s Desperate Housewives: “Marc works 24/7. The joke around the set is that they have to pry the pages out of his hands and rush them to the camera. It’s nearly true. Of course, this is a recipe for a hit show: an exhausted creator who micromanages everything,” writes Felicity Huffman, actress on Desperate Housewives.

∑ ANN COULTER, Conservative Thinker: “Coulter is the right-wing pinup of partisan vitriol,” writes TIME’s James Carney. “It helps too that she is a tall, thin, attractive blond who favors miniskirts and furs. “

∑ JOHNNY DEPP, Actor: He’s back with his favorite director, Tim Burton, remaking Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. One looks forward fondly to the pair’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, expecting them to edge the beloved kids’ classic with a disquiet that will sail over the heads of children while beguiling their parents, writes TIME’s Richard Schickel.

∑ CLINT EASTWOOD, Actor and Director: “Eastwood is a genuine messenger, a jazzman and a gentleman. And because he is so genuine, his audience is safe in his hands…At 74, Eastwood has become Cinema’s Mount Rushmore,” writes actor Sean Penn.

∑ DAVE EGGERS, Writer and Magazine Founder: Eggers’ enterprises are refreshingly dedicated to the idea that writers can actually change things in more than an abstract sense. Expect Eggers to keep up his neck-breaking pace of staggering intensity, writes TIME’s media critic James Poniewozik.

∑ JOHN ELDERFIELD, MOMA Chief Curator: “The history of modern art is not a single path,” says Elderfield, the MOMA’s chief curator of painting and sculpture, with final say over what hangs in the museum’s galleries. “It’s more like a democracy, full of different constituencies trying to convince the world that they’re the ones who count.”

∑ JAMIE FOXX, Actor: “People say he has come on fast, but I think he’s paid his dues. What is unique about Jamie is his uncanny ability to imitate: a transvestite, a white man, a blind black musician. I told him one day he has to play James Brown. Who else would have the energy to pull that off?” writes director Oliver Stone. ∑ CORNELIA FUNKE, Author: “She is often called the German J.K. Rowling, but Funke, 46, is a unique talent,” writes author Clive Barker on the writer whose books include The Thief Lord, Inkheart and Dragon Rider.

∑ Halo Creators: JASON JONES, MARCUS LEHTO and CHARLIE GOUGH: Video games are getting increasingly difficult to ignore as a vital force in popular culture, and the hardest game to ignore right now is Halo, writes TIME’s Lev Grossman.

∑ MICHAEL MOORE, Director: “The Bobby Knight of the left, Moore inspired his fellow Democrats with a workingman’s toughness they have lacked for some time. He’s now working on Sicko, an expose about the health care industry. He may finally have found a topic that all Americans are as angry about as he is,” writes TIME’s Joel Stein.

∑ MARC NEWSON, Designer: Since his furniture days, Newson has taken on a legion of projects. And if his creations lack diversity in angles, they don’t in purpose. He seems unafraid to take on any challenge, from restaurant to watch, from car to soap dish, from plane to, well, vibrator, writes TIME’s Belinda Luscombe.

∑ JON STEWART, Host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show: “Jon was the citizens’ surrogate as he penetrated the insiders’ cult of American presidential politics, exposing its absurdities, hypocrisies, juvenilia and most of all its separation from the realities of life for ordinary voters. Jon spoke truth to power (although he would laughingly dismiss such a weighty phrase),” writes Tom Brokaw, former anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News.

∑ MIUCCIA PRADA, Fashion Designer: Prada, 55, has provoked and influenced colleagues for years with her eccentric and highly personal sensibility. The company that bears her family’s name, is now a $2 billion dollar conglomerate. And more than a financial success, it is an engine of ideas, writes TIME’s Kate Betts.

∑ JUANES, Singer: “One artist who exemplifies music’s ability to speak to everyone is the young Colombian-born singer Juanes…He is an artist whose music comes straight from the genuine spirit of his soul, and because of that, an artist that I think more and more of the world will embrace,” writes Quincy Jones, Grammy-winning musician and producer.

∑ ALICIA KEYS, Singer: Keys, now 24, loves taking musical matters into her own hands. “She’s a work in progress as a songwriter, but that’s a refreshing contrast to many other twenty-something performers who are churned out as depressingly artificial finished products. What will Keys do next? You get the sense she’ll figure it out,” wrtes TIME’s Christopher John Farley.

∑ HAYAO MIYAZAKI, Master of Japanese Animation: “In the field of theatrical animation, where talent abounds and everyone has his or her own style, the art and creativity of Hayao Miyazaki are unrivaled. ..Miyazaki has taken the art of anime and brought it to new heights through an inimitable vision and sense of storytelling,” writes Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man and other superheroes.

∑ ALICE MUNRO, Author: “In the past 11⁄2 decades, Munro’s stories have broken out of their forms, expanding the genre. She takes on huge swaths of time, with breathtaking skips and breaks and vision, while still writing about women, about Canadians, about the extraordinary nature of ordinary love. Alice Munro is 73 now, and she deserves the Nobel Prize,” writes author Mona Simpson.

∑ ART SPIEGELMAN, Cartoonist: “The first time I really met Art Spiegelman, 57, was two years ago in his studio in Manhattan…I wanted to meet him to apologize, to make it clear that, while some compared my book, Persepolis, to his, I would never do so. He told me not to worry. We spent the afternoon smoking cigarettes. The Great Art Spiegelman smoked three times more than I. He’s a better man than even I had expected,” writes Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis and Embroideries, coming out this month.

∑ HILARY SWANK, Actress: “After writing Million Dollar Baby in 2001 I knew one thing: I wanted Hilary Swank to play Maggie Fitzgerald, the lead role. Hilary, 30, doesn’t study a character as much as burrow into it. She works her way under the skin, gnaws down into the sinew and tangles herself in the muscle. She doesn’t decide how a character walks, she just nudges the girl forward and the newly formed tissue determines her gait,” writes Paul Haggis, screenwriter of Million Dollar Baby.

∑ QUENTIN TARANTINO, Director: The bad news with Tarantino is that each successive film takes longer to produce…and that he’s threatened to retire before he’s 60. “I’m not going to be this old guy that keeps cranking them out,” he has said. In that case, QT, crank ’em out faster, right now, writes TIME’s film critic Richard Corliss. The world needs lots more movies from this incorrigible, irreplaceable adolescent. ∑ KANYE WEST, Hip-Hop Producer: What elevates West, 27, is the influence of his medium as well as the complexity of his message. By baring his flaws and being self-critical—and daring his listeners to do the same—West makes message music you can dance to, writes TIME’s Josh Tyrangiel. ∑ ZIYI ZHANG, Actress: At 26, she has a résumé unmatched by any other actress her age. Having done superb work for the top auteurs of all three Chinas, Zhang had no industry left to conquer but Hollywood—which she may have done by snagging the title role in Steven Spielberg ‘s Memoirs of a Geisha, writes TIME’s Richard Corliss.

BUILDERS AND TITANS

∑ ROMAN ABRAMOVICH, Owner of England’s Chelsea Football Club: “Roman Abramovich went from orphan to oligarch and now, at age 38, is one of Britain’s wealthiest men, with an estimated worth of $13 billion…So here’s my advice to a fellow sports-franchise owner: Ignore the press. Follow your heart. Be accessible to the people who share your passion—the fans. And learn to live with the inevitable losses,” writes Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team.

∑ BlackBerry Inventors, JAMES L. BALSILLIE and MIKE LAZARIDIS: “It’s with me almost all the time: office, home, gym—even on the air. I’m prohibited from checking it at the kitchen table but once managed to sneak it into my daughter’s preschool orientation—a mistake I won’t make again,” writess George Stephanopoulos, “a candidate for BlackBerrys Anonymous,” and host of ABC News’s This Week.

∑ JOHN BOND, Chairman of Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp.: No frontier excites Bond so much as China, where the firm has had a presence since 1865, the year it was founded. HSBC already owns stakes in two Chinese banks and an insurance firm, and Bond hopes to have HSBC branches in as many as 25 Chinese cities within the next few years, reports TIME’s William Green.

∑ BRAM COHEN, Founder of BitTorrent: Cohen’s invention, a piece of free software called BitTorrent, makes swapping large digital files a snap, speeding up download times and forcing everyone to share, not just leech off others. “This is just the inevitable arc of technology,” says Cohen. “Trying to fight it is like trying to fight the tides.”

∑ AMY DOMINI, Head of Domini Social Equity Fund and Author of Ethical Living: Domini has spurred hundreds of companies, from the Gap to Ford to Intel, to evaluate their impact on the environment and human rights, writes TIME’s Dan Kadlec. “This is a long-term strategy to create accountability,” says Domini.

∑ NOEL FORGEARD, CEO of Airbus: “After seven years at the controls of Airbus, Noël Forgeard has tipped the balance, and Airbus is soaring…A quiet, unassuming leader, Forgeard, 58, is no superhero up close. But he has crafted a team capable of being bold, technologically brilliant and ruthless in execution,” writes Richard Branson, entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin brand.

∑ Google Inventors, SERGEY BRIN and LARRY PAGE: “Larry and Sergey, both still in their 30s, have built something that seems certain to last and prosper for a long time,” writes venture capitalist Bill Joy, whose innovations helped grow the Internet.

∑ REED HASTINGS, Founder of Netflix: Hastings took the store out of video rental. But with other heavyweights like Amazon.com testing the water, there’s a risk Netflix could become a victim of its success, writes TIME’s Barbara Kiviat.

∑ JAY-Z, Musician and Hip-Hop Producer: “In yoga it’s important to breathe correctly and connect one’s breath to the pursuit of righteousness. I have seen my man Jay-Z spit a lyric instantaneously, without even having to take a breath. He just naturally does it. He epitomizes what it means to be cool,” writes Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Records and chair of Rush Communications.

∑ STEVE JOBS, CEO of Apple: “Steve’s brilliance as an innovator and marketer has revolutionized several industries. Whereas most creative people have just one big hit inside them, Steve has a drive and vision that renews itself, again and again. It leaves you waiting for his next move,” writes Terry Semel, chairman and CEO of Yahoo! Inc.

∑ LEE KUN HEE, Chairman of Samsung Electronics: “I tell our managers we can’t rest on our laurels,” Lee tells TIME. The goal is “to plan a business that creates the future, rather than responding to it.”

∑ ANNE LAUVERGEON, Chairwoman of Areva: “As chairwoman of Areva, a firm she virtually created in 2001, she has become one of the most influential figures in the controversial global nuclear power industry…Lauvergeon these days races around the globe promoting French nuclear power,” writes Christine Lagarde, chair of the global policy committee at Baker & McKenzie, the Chicago-based law firm.

∑ RUPERT MURDOCH, Chairman and CEO of News Corp: The most important fact about Murdoch is not that he’s a conservative; it is that he’s a monarch. And at age 74, as he pursues plans to combine the distribution power of recently acquired DirecTV with News Corp.’s vast content assets, he seems bent on expanding his empire, writes TIME’s James Poniewozik.

∑ CRAIG NEWMARK, Founder of Craigslist: Craigslist has grown into a Web marketplace for everything from apartments to nannies to used tennis racquets. Many of the 8 million people who use Craigslist every month don’t know there is a Craig. But founder Craig Newmark, 52, is quietly creating waves, writes TIME’s Jyoti Thottam.

∑ H. LEE SCOTT, CEO of Wal-Mart: It has not been a perfect year: Scott tried—and for the time being has failed—to infiltrate big cities. But Wal-Mart has more than 5,000 outlets, with $285 billion in sales last year, writes TIME’s Nancy Gibbs. That means Scott’s decisions touch more and more of what we see, hear, wear and eat, as well as what we pay for all of it.

∑ MARTIN SORRELL, Head of WPP: “With Sorrell leading the way, a wave of consolidation has swept advertising, and now WPP and four other giants together hog 60% of all U.S. advertising dollars…He understands the awful new truth of advertising and marketing: spoiled by so many choices and empowered by technology to skip the ads—the fickle consumer is in the driver’s seat,” writes Ken Auletta, author and writer for The New Yorker.

∑ MARTHA STEWART, Domestic Diva: “I remember when I first met Martha, years ago at a party. She lit up the room. Before I even knew who she was, it was obvious that this was someone special. As the years went by and I watched her turn into a one-woman industry, I was not surprised. She had everything it takes to be that successful,” writes Donald Trump, executive producer and host of The Apprentice.

∑ HOWARD STRINGER, New CEO and Chairman of Sony: “I know what products I like. I’m a consumer. The world’s full of consumers. I’ve got a chance to see mockups and say, ‘What do we think, guys? Let’s have a go at that one,’” says Stringer.

∑ MEG WHITMAN, CEO of eBay: “There is no guidebook for what Meg has to do at eBay…but she has managed to steer that ship expertly, without taking herself too seriously or losing sight of what’s best in the long run for her company. I knew when I first met her that she was sharp and capable…she has set the standard for a new kind of CEO,” writes Sallie Krawcheck, CFO and head of strategy at Citigroup.

∑ KATSUAKI WATANABE, CEO of Toyota: Toyota’s performance has been so consistently outstanding over the past decade that it’s hard to see how Watanabe, 62, can lift the world’s most profitable and valuable automaker—and perhaps the world’s best company—to new heights, writes TIME’s Jim Frederick.

∑ REN ZHENGFEI, CEO of Huawei Technologies: The company has spent liberally on a sprawling campus in southern China, and its cut-rate prices mean profit margins are thin. Because its ledgers are secret, analysts can only wonder if Huawei is headed for a financial crisis, writes TIME’s Matthew Forney.

HEROES AND ICONS

∑ DINA ASTITA, English Teacher in Indonesia: You’ve never heard of Astita, but she earned our attention as a survivor of the Dec. 26 tsunami. Astita was elected to coordinate the effort to restart schooling in Calang, a role that she says turned her into a beggar—“I asked for help wherever I could get it.” Her appeals worked. As for her family, “We never found my three children,” she tells TIME’s Simon Elegant.

∑ DALAI LAMA, Spiritual Leader: “I have been with the Dalai Lama all over the world for 25 years…No one leaves his presence without feeling uplifted and more hopeful about the possibility of a better world. His innate curiosity and openness have prompted a 20-year dialogue with scientists in many fields that has inspired new avenues of research into our understanding of consciousness, the mind and emotions,” writes actor Richard Gere.

∑ MELISSA ETHERIDGE, Musician: “Melissa’s fearlessness was never clearer than at this year’s Grammy Awards when, completely bald after nearly five months of treatment for breast cancer, she gave a wrenching, rocking performance of Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart. I was bawling backstage. She walked off and seemed to have no idea that she had done something extraordinary. She was just being Melissa: honest, defiant, fists in the air,” writes singer/songwriter Lisa Marie Presley.

∑ BILL GATES, Chairman of Microsoft: At 49 Gates has been earning respect in new ways, he has become the greatest philanthropist in history, writes TIME’s Lev Grossman.

∑ LEBRON JAMES, Basketball Player: “James appears level-headed and graceful in dealing with his notoriety, his good fortune and the high expectations…James’ next step, if he so chooses, is to become a leader and inspire his teammates to play better as a unit,” writes Basketball Hall-of-Famer Oscar Robertson.

∑ STEPHEN LEWIS, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa: “Canadians are proud of Lewis,” writes Canada’s Prime Minister Paul Martin. “Until there is a future in which the vulnerable are protected and new life and new hope can blossom again, Stephen Lewis will never consider his work to be done.”

∑ WANGARI MAATHAI, Founder of the Green Belt Movement: The first woman in East or Central Africa to earn a Ph.D., Maathai was elected to parliament in 2002 and last year became the first environmental campaigner—and first African woman—to win the Nobel Peace Prize ‘for her contributions to sustainable development, democracy and peace,’ writes TIME’s Simon Robinson.

∑ ELLEN MACARTHUR, Sailor: “She recently became the top solo sailor in the world…Her success was based not on innate talent but on hard work and aspiration. MacArthur is an inspiration for women throughout the world to pursue their dreams of success against the odds,” writes Steve Fossett, record-setting balloonist, sailor and aviator.

∑ NELSON MANDELA, Former President of South Africa: “Since retiring as President in 1999, he has continued to play an important role as senior statesman, gently and skillfully probing his party’s line on troubling issues such as AIDS and Zimbabwe…he has throughout his career manifested the unmistakable grace and authority of a natural aristocrat,” writes F.W. De Klerk, President of South Africa, 1989-1994.

∑ HANIA MUFTI, London Director for the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch: “This courageous woman should make Saddam Hussein nervous. For years she has been collecting evidence of human-rights abuses that he and his regime committed against Kurds and other citizens,” writes Asra Q. Nomani, journalist and author of Standing Alone in Mecca.

∑ LUBNA OLAYAN, CEO of the Olayan Financing Company: “She reminds everyone that Saudi women are capable of running not only the house, but also major companies. It is in no small measure thanks to her that the advancement of women in Saudi Arabia is finally reaching a point of no return,” writes Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud, women’s rights advocate.

∑ MARY ROBINSON, Former President of Ireland and Head of the Ethical Globalization Initiative in New York: Robinson, 60, is trying to make another radical idea commonplace: that long-lasting security in the age of terrorism will come from spreading global justice, writes TIME’s J.F.O. McAllister.

∑ MICHAEL SCHUMACHER, Auto Racing Driver: “Watching Schumacher compete is a chance to see the most complete driver the world has known give a master class in motor racing…If his opponents can’t come up with a way to beat him, he may have to do a season with one arm tied behind his back,” writes Nick Mason, Pink Floyd drummer who races cars.

∑ ELIOT SPITZER, New York State Attorney General: “Spitzer, who may run for Governor of New York in 2006, has served as attorney general with energy, savvy and distinction…If Spitzer gets his way—and surely he will—fiduciary duty will once again eclipse ‘It’s O.K. because everybody else is doing it’ as the ethical standard of Wall Street, mutual funds, insurance and, as we will no doubt learn as this year rolls on, other financial industries yet to come, writes John Bogle, Vanguard founder and head of Bogle Financial Markets Research Center.

∑ JOHN STOTT, Evangelical: “I can’t think of anyone who has been more effective in introducing so many people to a biblical world view. He represents a touchstone of authentic biblical scholarship that, in my opinion, has scarcely been paralleled since the days of the 16th-century European Reformers,” writes evangelist Billy Graham.

∑ OPRAH WINFREY, TV Personality: “I think her appeal can be traced to this creation of a living and breathing example of real—and rare—democracy. While the rest of the media focus on pro-con shouting matches and problems but not solutions, Oprah brings us the hard truths of life as well as the evidence for change. Her viewers feel as if they have crossed a desert of Fight or Flight and found an oasis of Tend and Befriend,” writes author and co-founder of Ms. magazine Gloria Steinem.

∑ VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO, Ukrainian President: “With his “orange revolution,” world democracy is now augmented with a new hue…Thanks to Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine went through its own Solidarity movement. Now it has to go through a series of reforms that, I am convinced, will set the country on the road to Europe,” writes Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland.

SCIENTISTS AND THINKERS

∑ BRIAN ATWATER, Scientist with U.S. Geological Survey: In a scratched-up canoe, paddling around the salt marshes and tidal flats of Washington State, Atwater discovered evidence of earthquakes and giant waves of a magnitude that seemed, to many, inconceivable—until late last year, when a tsunami of similar power tore across the Indian Ocean, killing more than 200,000, TIME’S Madeleine Nash reports.

∑ MITCHELL BAKER, Manager of Firefox Web Browser: “Firefox is chipping away at Internet Explorer’s stranglehold, but more important, it is showing that a loose collective of volunteer contributors from around the world can deliver software that can compete with any commercial effort,” writes Marc Andreessen, chairman of Opsware, co-founded Netscape and co-authored Mosaic.

∑ TIMOTHY GARTON ASH, Author of Free World: “Shelves are where most works of history spend their lives. But the kind of history Garton Ash writes is more likely to lie on the desks of the world’s decision makers,” writes Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard.

∑ MALCOLM GLADWELL, Author of The Tipping Point and Blink: Gladwell’s effortless prose and knack for storytelling have made him U.S.’s leading pop sociologist, a writer who manages to make his work as relevant to CEOs as it is to soldiers, writes TIME’s Romesh Ratnesar.

∑ ROBERT KLEIN, Chairman of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee: “In the last few months of his life, Christopher joined forces with Klein to raise awareness about Prop 71. They held fundraisers together, and before he died Chris taped a commercial for TV…Bob wanted to run the ads, but wouldn’t do it without my permission. He didn’t want to exploit the situation. I gave the go-ahead. It’s what Christopher would have wanted,” writes Dana Reeve, actress and chairwoman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

∑ RICHARD POUND, Head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA): The relentless Pound, 63, has been a prime mover in freeing the Olympic world from the taint of illicit, performance-enhancing drugs, and he isn’t going to stop until he has all the world’s sports in the tent, writes TIME’S Bill Saporito. “Antidoping,” Pound says, “is now the most important issue we face.”

∑ KARL ROVE, Political Strategist: “Sometimes the truth hurts, and it pains me to say this, but Karl Rove is the preeminent political strategist in the U.S. today. Last August, I went on the record as saying that if Rove managed to help George W. Bush win a second term in office, it would constitute the signature political achievement of my lifetime. Well, he did. And it is… If Rove wanted to switch parties, I’d take him up on it in a second,” writes James Carville, political strategist, CNN talk-show host and author.

∑ BURT RUTAN, Inventor of SpaceShipOne: “I am one of only 24 astronauts to have journeyed to the moon, a number that hasn’t changed in 33 years. When someone figures out a way to open up a frontier that has long been closed, we have truly turned a technological page. That person is Burt Rutan, 61, designer of SpaceShipOne, the first successful private spacecraft,” writes former astronaut Jim Lovell.

∑ JEFFREY SACHS, Head of U.N.’s Millennium Project: “The title of his new book, The End of Poverty, sounds lofty. It is lofty…Jeff’s hard-headed analysis does not stop at why and how…He’s just as concerned with who and when… When this man gets going, he’s more like a Harlem preacher than a Boston bookworm,” writes Bono, lead singer of U2, co-founder of DATA, a group that raises awareness on the issues of debt, AIDS, trade and Africa.

∑ NATAN SHARANSKY, Soviet Jewish Dissident: “In 1986, after almost a decade in the gulag, Sharansky was released. He arrived in Israel to a hero’s welcome. But he lacked the pomposity for the role…Sharansky, 57, emerged from Siberia with more than his sense of humor intact. He also kept his ideals and beliefs,” writes Zev Chafets, author and journalist, former editor of the Jerusalem Report.

∑ PETER SINGER, Philosopher and Author of Animal Liberation: “It is easy to demonize Singer, 58, since his theory points toward conclusions that some find morally repugnant…I don’t always agree with Peter. But he is a man whose reasoning merits consideration by everyone. There are few philosophers, living or dead, about whom that can be said,” writes Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

∑ ABDOLKARIM SOROUSH, Iran’s Democratic Voice: The 60-year-old philosopher is the leading intellectual force behind the Islamic republic’s pro-democracy movement, writes TIME’s Scott Macleod. Since 9/11, his writings have been central to the global debate over Islam’s compatibility with democracy.

∑ LARRY SUMMERS, President of Harvard: The only thing more surprising than Summers’ recklessness is how much people care, reports TIME’s Amanda Ripley. Showing off newly acquired restraint, he tries to explain: “Harvard is one of the two or three most recognized names in the world.”

∑ RICK WARREN, Pastor and Author of The Purpose Driven Life: The pastor’s message is that the path to spiritual fulfillment comes through service to others and adherence to God’s purpose, writes TIME’s Sonja Steptoe. “What I’m saying isn’t new,” Warren says. “I just synthesize ideas and translate them into simple language.”

∑ ANDREW WEIL, Author and Guru of Self-Healing: “The medical establishment is still uncomfortable with him…But Weil has better—and more remunerative—things on his mind. His next book, Growing Old Gracefully, which takes aim at anti-aging drugs and the life-extension industry, is due out in October,” writes Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent.

∑ LEE KUAN YEW, Senior Minister of Singapore: “Although Lee, 81, stepped down as Prime Minister, he can still fine-tune his social model as Senior Minister…Because Singapore is too small to shape the future of the world, Lee’s mark on history would have to be as a kind of Asian philosopher king,” writes Ian Buruma, Henry Luce Professor at Bard College in New York.

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