One of the most inspiring initiatives for us at TIME over the past few years has been convening TIME100 honorees from around the globe. What began nearly two decades ago as an annual list of the world’s most influential people has become a community of leaders from across fields, who join together in venues from Singapore and New York City to Dubai and Los Angeles, to spotlight solutions toward a better future. At this year’s first gathering of TIME100s, in Davos, Switzerland, the overarching theme was the confluence of interconnected challenges, from climate and public health to democracy and equality.
That is also the central theme running through the 2023 TIME100 list—starting with the most existential of challenges: climate change. This year’s list features a record 16 people defending the environment, including the new leaders of Australia, Colombia, and Brazil, all recently elected on a wave of pro-climate sentiment. Also counted among that group are scientists like Andrea Kritcher, whose experiments brought controlled fusion power closer to reality than ever before; Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, who donated his company to the fight; and environmental-justice advocate Catherine Coleman Flowers.
We also include cultural titans like Angela Bassett, whom singer Tina Turner praises for always having “strength, determination, and big, big dreams,” and pioneers like Sam Altman, whose company released the generative artificial intelligence platform ChatGPT, advancing what Airbnb founder Brian Chesky calls in this issue “the most powerful tool ever created.” Recognized here too are Ozlem Tureci and Ugur Sahin, mRNA-vaccine trailblazers who led the way on COVID-19 jabs and are now turning to cancer vaccines with exciting results. And we may all someday owe a debt to physicist Edward Reynolds, who oversaw a successful mission to collide a small spacecraft with an asteroid in order to knock the latter off course. A passionate group of activists are also on this list, including Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, whose work continues to gain resonance as gun violence remains a tragically daily threat in America’s communities.
Central to confronting the world’s shared challenges is the pursuit of truth, an endeavor increasingly under attack. We recognize three journalists who have taken great risks in the course of that duty. Elaheh Mohammadi and Niloofar Hamedi, courageous Iranian reporters, have been jailed over their crucial coverage of the protests against the regime. And the work of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter facing bogus espionage charges for reporting on Russia, has galvanized supporters of press freedom around the world. We celebrate Evan’s commitment to our profession and join in calling for his immediate release.
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