Filipina journalist Maria Ressa ’86, Special Counsel Robert Mueller ’66, former first lady Michelle Obama ’85, Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell ’75, and activist Ezra Levin *13 were featured in the TIME 100, an annual list of the most influential people in the world. Time Magazine published its 16th list — which includes representatives from a wide variety of fields, from art to science to politics to entertainment — on Wednesday, April 17.
Editor-in-Chief and CEO of TIME Edward Felsenthal described TIME 100 as “far more than a list. It is a community of hundreds of global leaders, many of whom support and challenge one another. And at a time when so many of our problems require cross-disciplinary solutions, they are also uniquely positioned to effect change.”
Ressa is the CEO of Philippine news network Rappler, an outlet which has openly criticized Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent drug war and exposed fake news in the country.
Her work has made her a target of the Philippine government. She has posted bail 11 times in the past 14 months for charges ranging from tax evasion to cyber-libel. In a five-week period, she was arrested twice.
Ressa was named a Time Person of the Year in 2018 for her work covering the Duterte regime and defending freedom of the press.
TIME commended Ressa as an icon.
“A new generation of authoritarian leaders is leading a concerted and intentional assault on truth, with serious consequences for journalists,” wrote Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, who wrote about Ressa for TIME. She noted the importance of journalists such as Maria who are “committed to exposing corruption, documenting abuse and combating misinformation.”
TIME classified Mueller in the “leader” category for his firm sense of duty and his dedication to the Russia probe.
In March, the former FBI director delivered a report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. During the two-year investigative process, Mueller “uttered not a single public word” according to Sally Yates, former Deputy Attorney General, who wrote Mueller’s mini-essay.
“Distinctly apolitical, he confounds those who can’t comprehend a person driven by his all too uncommon values: honor, integrity, humility, service. He is the inverse image of the man he would ultimately come to investigate,” she wrote. “He called it as he saw it. He did his duty.”
Beyoncé wrote remarks on behalf of Obama, who “shines as a beacon of hope who inspires all of us to do better.”
“She would’ve been impactful simply by being in the White House, the first African-American First Lady. But she also used her position of power to improve the world around her. Her initiative Reach Higher, for example, encourages young people to complete their education past high school. She empowers all of us to interrogate our fears and surpass greatness.”
Additionally, the current Chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell ’75, was listed in the titan category for “keeping the economy healthy, with plentiful jobs and with inflation low and stable” and “wisely and capably lead[ing] a process in which monetary policy decisions are based on data and objective analysis,” according to his biography by Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve.
Representative Ayanna Pressley recounted the story of Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin *13, whose online publication of a 23-page handbook, “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda,” spawned a grassroots political movement.
“They did not do this work alone, and perhaps most commendably they are quick to step back, create space and center those most impacted by issues. In times of division, they’ve been a constant force for good,“ Pressley wrote.
According to TIME, the magazine will host a summit with a selection of some TIME 100 honorees on April 23, in order to “spotlight the outstanding progress these individuals are making and encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration toward a better world.”