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Drawing up such a ranking is, by nature, a subjective undertaking that demonstrates which individuals have impressed us this past year. The international OOOM 100 jury includes exceptional individuals such as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Betty Williams; Obama and Dalai Lama advisor Nipun Mehta; star designer Stefan Sagmeister (Sagmeister & Walsh NYC); “Global Footprint Network” president Mathis Wackernagel; the director of Serpentine Galleries London, Hans Ulrich Obrist; bestselling author Roger Nelson of Princeton University; art gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac; and world-renowned geneticist Josef Penninger, among others.
1 Greta Thunberg, Activist
(NEW) It all started little more than a year ago with a simple cardboard sign in front of the Swedish parliament building. All by herself, a seemingly shy, 15-year-old girl with long braids confronted her government with a call to action that would spark a movement: “School Strike for Climate.” In the year that followed, the little girl has grown into a global icon and role model for an entire generation, inspiring millions to take to the streets to protest for more sustainable climate policies. There is no doubt that Greta Thunberg dominated this year’s news coverage: a new hope for some, an enemy for others. The OOOM 100 jury voted Greta Thunberg to the top of the ranking of “The World’s Most Inspiring People 2019,” honoring her unrelenting fight for the planet. Thunberg proves to all of us that every person has the power to change the world.
2 Jane Fonda, Environmental Activist and Icon
(NEW) Iconic actress, fitness queen, sex symbol, rebel – Jane Fonda was many things in her life. She became a peace activist during the Vietnam War, and almost 50 years later she has raised her political voice again. As a climate activist, Fonda is engaged in passionate, radical, and fearless protest for a better world, having been arrested many times since October while leading weekly demonstrations on Washington’s Capitol Hill. She knows: “We can’t abandon the youth in their fight for their future.” She has become a beacon of hope for the climate movement. The OOOM 100 jury ranked Jane Fonda #2 in its “The World’s Most Inspiring People 2019” ranking: a role model and heroine of our time.
3 Michelle Obama, Best-Selling Author, Former First Lady
(05) Her memoir Becoming sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. In this remarkable book, the former first lady writes about her time at Princeton, her attempts to get pregnant, racism in the USA and her love for the 44th President of the USA. She also does not mince words in describing her husband’s successor, calling him a “divorced dad.” Michelle Obama says what Barack Obama may be thinking. She is America’s “First Lady of Hearts,” the antithesis to Trump and his White House. She is a strong woman and a role model for many.
4 Sanna Marin, The World’s Youngest Head of Government
(NEW) At 34 years old, she is the world’s youngest female prime minister and living proof that millennials should operate the levers of power. Finland’s new head of government has 129,000 followers on Instagram, and she is a refreshing reminder that things can be different than they always have been. Marin, who has been in politics for the last seven years and most recently worked as the Minister of Transport and Communications, is married, has an almost two-year-old daughter (Emma), enjoys rock music and is preceded by her reputation of being highly focused and confident. Marin will lead a five-party coalition, all of which are headed by women.
5 Megan Rapinoe, BEST FIFA Women’s Soccer Player 2019, Olympic Champion
(NEW) On the pitch, she is a female Cristiano Ronaldo, but in her private life, she is not arrogant and does not molest others. Recently, she sharply criticized Ronaldo, Messi and co, saying that they don’t use their popularity to raise awareness for important causes. Megan Rapinoe is the best female soccer player in the world; she is a two-time world champion, an Olympic champion, and the top player according to FIFA. Frequently calling out Trump, whom she considers a sexist, Rapinoe also fights discrimination against gay people and minorities. She is an icon.
6 Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives
(NEW) She is Donald Trump’s worst nightmare, and as Speaker of the House of Representatives, she is also America’s political conscience. Pelosi recently announced that impeachment charges will be brought against the current president. The law, after all, must be observed: “Our democracy is at stake,” she said. “The president has abused his power.” This mother of five entered politics at the age of 47 after earning millions of dollars in the property business with her husband. She subsequently made it to the top in her political career as well. In the political hierarchy, Nancy Pelosi is number 3 as the Speaker of the House. She is an unwavering woman with principles, someone America needs more than ever.
7 Pope Francis, Pontifex Maximus
(7) He is from Buenos Aires and is leading the Catholic Church into a new era. Seven years into his term as pope, the Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio has proven more modern and progressive than his predecessor. “The world needs free people,” he stated, and he has infused the church with new meaning and purpose through his humbleness. Decisive and assertive, Francis has led the Catholic Church into the 21st century. He is a major spiritual leader and a source of hope for many.
8 Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
(NEW) Moments of major crisis reveal just how assertive and tactful people can be. When an Australian gunman killed 51 people during an attack on a mosque in Christchurch in March 2019, Jacinda Ardern was not only at the crime scene to offer comfort and grieve with the community; she also lost no time in announcing a strict weapons ban that she implemented shortly thereafter. In New Zealand, military-style semiautomatic weapons are illegal in private hands. Ardern, the mother of one-year-old Neve, to whom she gave birth while in office, has been engaged since last Easter and represents a truly modern and powerful woman.
9 Elon Musk, Tesla & SpaceX CEO, Game Changer
(06) Anyone who would have claimed 20 years ago that a South African entrepreneur would be the main driver behind a vision to bring people to Mars, one who would also have reusable rockets in his portfolio of realized projects, would have certainly been called mad. Elon Musk is a visionary who not only changed the notion of what is possible in transportation through Tesla’s electric cars; he is set to bring people to other planets. For the first time in history, a settlement on Mars is within reach, and it is due to Elon Musk and the dreams he turns into realities.
10 Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Actress and Screenwriter
(NEW) She is the most in-demand screenwriter in the business, and she has a characteristic, unbeatable feel for irony. Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote scripts for the comedy shows Crashing and Fleabag, both of which she starred in as well. She has been awarded trophies like the British Academy Television Award. At the 2019 Emmys, Fleabag raked in six awards, including wins in the Best Comedy category. Waller-Bridge also won awards for Best Lead Actress and Best Screenplay. She adapted Killing Eve for BBC America and was brought on board to join the scriptwriting team for the new Bond film, No Time to Die. With both charm and self-irony, Waller-Bridge is changing the image of women. Impressive.