Thursday, Apr. 01, 2010

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Age: 64
Occupation: President of Brazil
Previous TIME 100 Appearances: 1

Whether he's charming the International Olympic Committee (the 2016 Summer Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro) or irking the Obama Administration (which frowned on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent visit to Brazil), Lula has helped make Brazil the first Latin American power to matter in world affairs. The former labor union leader's mixing of social largesse and capitalist orthodoxy has also brought Latin politics to a more sensible center — and Brazil to the brink of development. It's not about ideology anymore, Lula told TIME last year: "It's about doing things right."