2019 marks the 10th anniversary of foreign Policy’s special edition of the top 100 Global Thinkers, which list is being split into 10 categories of 10. The first group comprises thinkers who have had enormous impact on the world in the past decade. The other groups are for people who have been influential in the past year: thinkers and doers 40 and under, as well as those in defense and security, energy and climate, technology, economics and business, science and health, and activism and the arts.
10 spots have been reserved and will be picked by Foreign Policy’s readers. There will also be a group of 10 great minds who died in 2018.
The full list of 100 is expected to be released on Tuesday, Jan. 22—the day the Global Thinkers special edition magazine goes online and into subscriber mailboxes. Until then, Global Thinkers will be revealing names from each category every day.
The Top 10 of the Last 10 Years
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Since taking over the International Monetary Fund’s top job in 2011, Christine Lagarde has spent her time in office dispensing tough love. The strict conditions she attached to bailouts for countries such as Greece and Ukraine haven’t won her many friends but have helped calm international markets during a turbulent decade. In an era when skepticism toward international institutions is growing, Lagarde has time and again proved the importance of the fund’s role as a lender of last resort, even while trying to retool it as a champion of progressive policies on climate change and inequality. Her aim: to prevent crises before they happen.
Fareed Zakaria, Author and TV Host
One of the most influential foreign-policy analysts for almost two decades, Fareed Zakaria has proved prescient on subjects including the decline of U.S. power, the rise of the rest, and the spread of illiberal democracy. As the U.S. media continues to grow more insular, his CNN show, Fareed Zakaria GPS, now in its 11th year, remains a rare haven of smart takes on world affairs. The Indian-born Zakaria’s success offers hope that readers and viewers still want intelligent coverage of global events—even if fewer and fewer outlets are willing to provide it.
40 & Under
Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
Jacinda Ardern, 38 years old, embodies a progressive political counterexample to the age of Donald Trump, one built on inclusiveness and equal rights. In her short time in office—she became New Zealand’s prime minister in October 2017 and then took a six-week maternity leave starting in June 2018—she has championed social welfare reform and stepped up health and education spending while also embracing New Zealand’s indigenous population by pledging to ensure that the Maori language is taught in all schools by 2025.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Representative from New York
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez channeled the rage triggered by Donald Trump’s presidency into something that was once almost unthinkable in the United States: victory by a 29-year-old Latina democratic socialist over a white male Democratic Party machine politician.
Now the youngest woman to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, she stands at the forefront of a newly resurgent progressive movement, whose candidates are winning elections on pledges of universal health care, a federal jobs guarantee, and criminal justice reform.
Other Thinkers to be announced January 22
Activism & the Arts
Bobi Wine, Singer and Politician
Uganda’s firebrand singer-turned-politician grew up poor in Kampala. Today, he represents a section of the city as a member of parliament. Bobi Wine, born Robert Kyagulanyi, has rallied Uganda’s youth by arguing against a proposed social media tax and fighting for the dignity of the poor.
Ugandan soldiers attempted to silence Wine in August 2018, first beating him brutally and then bringing him to trial for treason in a military court, although he is a civilian. Wine recovered, picked up attention in the international media, and his “people power” campaign continues, undeterred.
ALSO READ: Bobi Wine: Defiant after ‘torture’
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Reuters Journalists
2018 was a grim year for the freedom and safety of journalists around the world. In one of the year’s landmark cases, the reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were jailed for their investigation into the ongoing violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar. Their reporting from the country’s Rakhine state provided hard evidence that government forces had killed 10 Rohingya men. Prosecutors charged them with a violation of the country’s Official Secrets Act for being in possession of documents that the police gave them shortly before their arrest. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are now set to serve seven years in prison for daring to tell the truth. They are not alone. As of Dec. 1, 2018, at least 251 journalists across the globe were imprisoned in connection to their work, according to the Committee to Project Journalists. Dozens of others were killed. This widespread crackdown on the press shows no signs of subsiding.
Science & Health
Two early nominees to be announced Jan 10.
Defense & Security
Two early nominees to be announced Jan. 11.
Two early nominees to be announced Jan. 14.
Energy & Climate
Two early nominees to be announced Jan. 15.
Two early nominees to be announced Jan. 16.
Economy & Business
Two early nominees to be announced Jan. 17.
Two early nominees to be announced Jan. 18.