His Excellency, President Paul Kagame, has been nominated for the TIME Magazine ‘100 Most Influential Person of the Year’.
Nominated by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, a past nominee himself, President Kagame, was lauded for having “helped put an end to the 1994 genocide and is now trying to lure investors to the region, drafting Tony Blair to serve as a business adviser”, as put by TIME.
Ranked 24th- the highest ranked African- President Kagame outpolled global luminaries such as Russian Premier Vladimir Putin (35th), Morgan Tsvangarai (32nd), Oprah Winfrey (98th), Australian PM Kevin Rudd (114th), UK’s Gordon Brown (132nd), recently elected South African President Jacob Zuma (180th) and, even more surprisingly, US President Barack Obama, who was ranked 37th.
What is the TIME Magazine 100 most influential people in the world list?
The Time 100 is an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, as assembled by TIME. Developed as a result of a debate among several academics, the list has developed into an annual event.
The list was started with a debate at a symposium at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center on February 1, 1998 with panel participants CBS news anchor Dan Rather, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, former New York governor Mario Cuomo, then-political science professor Condoleezza Rice, neoconservative publisher Irving Kristol and Time managing editor Walter Isaacson.
The list was first published in 1999, when Time magazine named the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Based on the popularity of the installment, in 2004 Time magazine decided to make it an annual issue, listing the 100 people most influencing the world. Making the list is frequently mistaken as an honor; however, Time makes it very clear that people are recognized for changing the world, for better or for worse.
Those recognized fall in one of five categories: Leaders & Revolutionaries, Builders & Titans, Artists & Entertainers, Scientists & Thinkers, and Heroes & Icons. Within each category, the 20 most influential people (sometimes pairs or small groups) are selected, for a grand total of 100 each year.
In 2004 Time’s editors “identified three rather distinct qualities”, when choosing the Time 100 explained TIME’s Editor-at-Large Michael Elliott:
First, there were those who came to their status by means of a very public possession of power; President George W. Bush is the pre-eminent example. Others, though they are rarely heard from in public, nonetheless have a real influence on the great events of our time.
Think of Ali Husaini Sistani, the Grand Ayatullah of Iraq’s Shi’ites, who in effect has a veto on plans to transfer power from those who occupy his country to its people...Still others affect our lives through their moral example.
Consider Nelson Mandela’s forgiveness of his captors and his willingness to walk away from the South African presidency after a single term.
In the 2007 Time 100 list managing editor Richard Strengel explained that the Time 100 was not a list of the hottest, most popular or most powerful people, but rather the most influential, stating:
Influence is hard to measure, and what we look for is people whose ideas, whose example, whose talent, whose discoveries transform the world we live in. Influence is less about the hard power of force than the soft power of ideas and example.
Yes there are Presidents and dictators who can change the world through fiat, but we’re more interested in innovators like Monty Jones, the Sierra Leone scientist who has developed a strain of rice that can save African agriculture.
Or heroes like the great chessmaster Garry Kasparov, who is leading the lonely fight for greater democracy in Russia. Or Academy Award winning actor George Clooney who has leveraged his celebrity to bring attention to the tragedy in Darfur.
The fact that the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair was excluded from the 2004 list caused mild controversy. Time magazine editor-at-large Michael Elliott defended the decision to consistently exclude Blair:
Gerhard Schröder and Jacques Chirac are not there either. This is a worldwide list. There are no Western European political leaders on it because they are not that powerful or influential at this time.
Although George W. Bush has appeared on the list several times, controversy emerged when he was dropped from the list in 2007 in part because of the Democratic victory in the 2006 congressional election. Former Senator Rick Santorum (R) of Fox News said:
“The fact of the matter is, the president of the United States, I don’t care who’s in that office, is the most powerful man on the face of the Earth and has more influence over various aspects of lives, not just in this country, but around the world. And for Time magazine to dismiss that just shows you how biased and, I would argue, hateful they are”.
“Any U.S. president has a certain built-in influence,” explained Adi Ignatius, deputy managing editor at Time, who oversaw the list. “Bush had actually squandered some of that built-in influence. His position on Iraq has cost him support in his own party…To a certain point, he sort of reached a lame-duck status,”
The list has generated controversy over who was included in other years as well. In 2005 conservative commentator Ann Coulter was listed causing Salon.com to observe:
When Time magazine named Ann Coulter among its 100 “most influential people” last week, alongside such heavyweights as Ariel Sharon, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Kim Jong Il and the Dalai Lama the choice produced guffaws online.
Plugging the issue on Fox News last week, Time executive editor Priscilla Painton insisted it was Coulter’s use of “humor” that made her so influential, stopping just short of suggesting that Coulter is the conservative Jon Stewart.
But even Fox’s Bill O’Reilly wasn’t buying it. He pressed Painton: “Do you think people, Americans, listen to Ann Coulter? Do you think she has influence in public opinion?”
While Time magazine defended Coulter on the grounds that she is a best-selling author whose controversial commentary has impacted the discourse of the world’s most powerful nation, she was not considered influential enough to make a repeat appearance on the list.
Dr. Rick Warren’s recommendation of President Paul Kagame
By Dr. Rick Warren
President Paul Kagame, 51, of Rwanda , is the face of emerging African leadership. His reconciliation strategy, management model, empowerment of women in leadership, and insistence on self-reliance, are transforming a failed state into one with a bright future.
Rwanda ’s rapid improvements have impressed the rest of the continent and Kagame’s influence is exponentially greater than the size that his small country might warrant.
Paul Kagame is one of few leaders who has successfully modeled the transition from soldier to statesman. During the atrocities of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the world watched in horror, but did nothing. Kagame, with no outside help, was solely responsible for ending the slaughter that murdered over a million citizens in 100 days.
When his best friend was killed, Kagame was forced to assume the leadership of the Rwandan exiles that ended the killing spree. He was hailed as liberator by his countrymen, but wisely refused the presidency at that point.
“What we needed most was unity”, he said, “and I had not been elected,”
After the genocide, the nation was in shambles. Kagame and other began the slow process of rebuilding. But the process moved into hyper drive when he was elected president in 2000.
He launched a series of reforms and reconciliation strategies that have caught the attention of investors worldwide.
He has since taken the small but densely populated African country from division and devastation to unity and stability, fostering a social and economic recovery unimaginable 15 years ago. Even his critics respect his accomplishments.
Kagame’s leadership includes a number of uncommon characteristics: One is his willingness to listen and learn from to those who oppose him, and even find ways to partner with them.
When Stephen Kinzer was writing a biography of Kagame, the president gave him a list of his critics and suggested that Kinzer could discover what the president was really like by interviewing them. Only a humble, yet confident, leader would do that.
Another uncommon characteristic is Kagame’s zero tolerance for corruption. Rwanda is one of few countries where I’ve never been asked for a bribe. Anytime a government worker is caught in corruption, he is publicly exposed and dealt with. It is a model for the entire country – and the rest of the world too.
Purpose Driven Connection
Some of the highest ranked TIME 100 Nominees
1. Anwar Ibrahim (ranked 2nd) born 10 August 1947 is a Malaysian politician who served as Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister from 1993 to 1998. Early in his career, he became a protégé of the Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, but subsequently emerged as the most prominent critic of Mahathir’s administration.
In 1999, he was sentenced to six years in prison for corruption, and in 2000, to another nine years for sodomy. On 26 August 2008, Anwar won the Permatang Pauh by-election with a majority of 15,671, returning to Parliament as leader of the Malaysian opposition. He currently faces new sodomy charges in the Malaysian courts.
2. Rick Warren (ranked 3rd), born 1954 in San Jose, California, is an American evangelical minister and author. He is the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church,
He is also a bestselling author of many Christian books, including his guide to church ministry and evangelism, The Purpose Driven Church, which has spawned a series of conferences on Christian ministry and evangelism. He is perhaps best known for the subsequent devotional, The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold over 30 million copies, making Warren a New York Times bestselling author.
3. Baitullah Mehsud ( ranked 4th) born in 1974, he is a leading tribal militia leader in Waziristan, Pakistan and the leader of the Taliban umbrella group, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, formed in December 2007. He is widely believed to be responsible for the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
100 Candidates for the TIME Person of the Year
1. Barack Obama
2. The Twitter Guys,Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone
3. Jim Cramer
4. The Charter 08 authors
5. Tzipi Livni
6. Bernie Madoff
7. Arianna Huffington
8. Pope Benedict XVI
9. George W. Bush
10. Katie Stam
11. Alex Rodriguez
14. Bill O’Reilly
15. Joaquin Phoenix
16. David Plouffe
17. Rahm Emanuel
18. Dov Charney
19. Mark Cuban
20. Eric Holder
21. Odell Barnes
22. Rod Blagojevich
23. The Pregnant Man: Thomas Beatie
24. Roland Burris
25. Stephen Colbert
26. Sarah Palin
27. The Jonas
28. Britney Spears
29. Miley Cyrus
30. Angelina Jolie
31. John McCain
32. Hillary Clinton
33. Ron Paul
34. Mike Huckabee
36. Ratan Tata
37. Oprah Winfrey
38. Tina Fey
39. Michelle Obama
40. Katie Couric
41. Michael Phelps
42. Kobe Bryant
43. Lil’ Wayne
44. Mukesh Ambani
45. Ron Bloom
46. Bill Gross
47. Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
48. Warren Buffett
49. Carlos Slim
50. T. Boone Pickens
51. Ram Charan
52. Neel Kashkari
53. James Lockhart
54. Jamie Dimon
55. Michael Duke
56. Ken Lewis
57. Dick Kovacevich
58. Sheila Bair
59. Charlie Gasparino
60. Tim Geithner
61. Meredith Whitney
62. General Petraeus
63. Abdul Rahman
64. Michelle Rhee
65. Nancy Pelosi
66. Elizabeth Warren
67. Gordon Brown
68. Boris Johnson
70. Asif Ali Zardari
71. Ashfaq Pervez
73. Robert Mugabe
74. Paul Kagame
75. Richard Kelly
77. Ronnie Screwvala
78. Steve Jobs
79. Jeff Kindler
80. Nouriel Roubini
81. Yochiro Nambu
82. Stephan Schuster
and Webb Miller
83. Linda Avey and
84. Douglas Melton
85. Nicholas Christakis
86. Nate Silver
87. Rowan Williams
88. Paul Krugman
89. Dr. Alain
90. Doris A. Taylor
91. Roland Fryer
92. Steven Chu
93. Connie Hedegaard
94. Jon Favreau
95. Rachel Maddow
96. Rush Limbaugh
97. Kate Winslet
98. Seth MacFarlane
99. Damien Hirst
100. William Kentridge