December 10, 2015 7:07 AM EST

QUEEN ELIZABETH II

1952

Settling into the throne

NOW

Setting a new record Sept. 9 as the longest-reigning British monarch; she’s nearing 64 years

BILL CLINTON

1992, 1998

Elected as the first baby-boomer U.S. President; then trying to hold on in the face of impeachment

NOW

Potentially ready to bring new meaning to “First Spouse” if his wife becomes President

JEFF BEZOS

1999

Leading Amazon.com, the company he founded, to usher in an era of e-commerce

NOW

Taking Amazon into everything from devices to drones–and pursuing his own commercial space venture

VLADIMIR PUTIN

2007

Rebuilding Russia as a world power

NOW

Making military moves in Ukraine, Syria and more–and butting heads with the U.S.

BARACK OBAMA

2008, 2012

Getting elected (and re-elected) as America’s first black President, promising hope and change

NOW

Preparing to leave office with a legacy of health care reform–but also renewed national-security concerns

MARK ZUCKERBERG

2010

Driving the social-networking phenomenon with 550 million Facebook users

NOW

Becoming a dad and expanding philanthropic efforts, all while reaching 1.55 billion active monthly users

THE PROTESTER

2011

Demanding justice and dignity in over a dozen countries during the Arab Spring revolutions

NOW

Other than in Tunisia, finding their efforts have largely soured–especially in Egypt and Syria

POPE FRANCIS

2013

Inspiring a new generation of believers and nonbelievers to see the church in a friendlier light

NOW

Confronting conservative elements in the church with (relatively) progressive stances on key issues

THE EBOLA FIGHTERS

2014

Working to stop a deadly and frightening epidemic

NOW

Still working–but having made tremendous progress in halting the disease in West Africa

This appears in the December 21, 2015 issue of TIME.

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Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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