They are some of the worlds most introspective philosophers and rabble-rousing clerics. A few write searing works of fiction and uncover the mysteries of the human mind. Others are at the forefront of modern finance, politics, and human rights. In the second Foreign Policy/Prospect list of top public intellectuals, we reveal the thinkers who are shaping the tenor of our time.
The Foreign Policy/Prospect 2008 Worlds Top 100 Public Intellectuals poll is now closed.
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Aitzaz Ahsan, Pakistan
Lawyer and politician
As president of Pakistans Supreme Court Bar Association and a senior figure in the Pakistan Peoples Party, Ahsan has played a leading role in opposing antidemocratic moves by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. He is author of The Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan.
Kwame Anthony Appiah, Ghana/United States
Appiah is Laurance S. Rockefeller University professor of philosophy at Princeton University and author of numerous books and novels, including The Ethics of Identity.
Anne Applebaum, United States
A regular columnist for the Washington Post, Applebaum is a veteran journalist and author of Gulag: A History, a Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Soviet prison system. She wrote In Search of Pro-Americanism for the July/August 2005 issue of FP.
Jacques Attali, France
A past advisor to former French President Franois Mitterrand, Attali played a leading role in helping former Warsaw Pact countries make the transition to market economies. He is author of Noise: The Political Economy of Music. A contributing editor to Foreign Policy, Attali wrote Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Monogamy for the September/October 2005 issue of FP.
George Ayittey, Ghana
Ayittey is a prominent Ghanaian scholar, activist, and author of Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africas Future. As president of the Washington-based Free Africa Foundation, he argues that Africa is poor because she is not free. He is an economist in residence at American University.
Daniel Barenboim, Israel
Conductor, pianist, peace activist
An outspoken critic of Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories, Barenboim is conductor for life at the Berlin State Opera and is widely seen as a successor to Lorin Maazel at the New York Philharmonic.
Anies Baswedan, Indonesia
University president, political analyst
Currently president of Paramadina University in Jakarta and a noted researcher, Baswedan played a leading role in the student movements that helped oust Indonesian dictator Suharto.
Pope Benedict XVI, Germany/Vatican
Religious leader, theologian
Born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, Pope Benedict is a leading theologian and a staunch defender of Catholic traditions and values. Prior to his election as pope in 2005, he was a prolific author and commentator and even cofounded a theological journal, the influential Communio. Before Ratzingers election, R. Scott Appleby wrote Job Description for the Next Pope in the January/February 2004 issue of FP.
Ian Buruma, Britain/Netherlands
A former journalist who spent years working in Asia, Buruma is best known for Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance and for his commentary on faith and moral relativism. He is a widely syndicated columnist and a popular lecturer.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil
An internationally renowned sociologist and a two-term former president of Brazil, Cardoso is a professor at Brown Universitys Watson Institute for International Studies. He has authored numerous books, including Dependency and Development in Latin America, and is a director of the Club of Madrid. He wrote Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Political Parties for the September/October 2005 issue of FP.
Noam Chomsky, United States
A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1955, the prolific Chomsky is a groundbreaking linguist and a prominent critic of U.S. foreign policy. He wrote What Is the International Community: The Crimes of 'Intcom' for the September/October 2002 issue of FP.
J.M. Coetzee, South Africa
The 2003 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Coetzee wrote his most famous novelsWaiting for the Barbarians, Life Times of Michael K , and Disgracewhile a university professor in South Africa and the United States.
Paul Collier, Britain
Development and conflict economist
Author most recently of The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, awarded the 2008 Gelber Prize, Collier is professor of economics at Oxford University and a leading expert on the governance and development challenges faced by the worlds poorest countries. He wrote Africas Revolutionary Routine in the May/June 2004 issue of FP.
Richard Dawkins, Britain
Dawkinss seminal 1976 work, The Selfish Gene, explores the role played by genes in the evolutionary process. He may be better known today for the criticisms of religion and intelligent design theories put forth in The God Delusion. He shares his Epiphanies in the May/June 2008 issue of FP.
Alex de Waal, Britain
Writer, Africa activist
A program director at the Social Science Research Council, de Waal is a frequently cited expert on the Darfur crisis and on African health issues.
Thrse Delpech, France
One of Frances most respected analysts of international affairs, Delpech is director for strategic studies at the Atomic Energy Commission of France, senior research fellow at CERI (Center of International Relations Studies), and author most recently of Savage Century: Back to Barbarism.
Daniel Dennett, United States
Dennett is the Austin B. Fletcher professor of philosophy at Tufts University, where his lifes work is building a philosophy of mind to explain how human consciousness works. He is the author of Content and Consciousness, Consciousness Explained, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, and Breaking the Spell, among others.
Jared Diamond, United States
The preeminent scholar of the relationship between the environment and civilizational success, Diamond is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse. He is professor of geography and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Esther Duflo, France
Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel professor of poverty alleviation and development economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studies health, poverty, and credit issues in the developing world. She wrote 21 Solutions to Save the World: Fund What Works for the May/June 2007 issue of FP.
William Easterly, United States
Economist, aid skeptic
A scathing critic of the ideology of development, Easterly views much foreign aid as messianic, wasted, or even harmful to developing countries. He is professor of economics at New York University, author of The White Mans Burden: Why the Wests Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, and a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy.
Shirin Ebadi, Iran
Lawyer, human rights activist
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her advocacy on behalf of Iranian dissidents and others, especially women and children, Ebadi is a human rights lawyer in Tehran and author of the memoir Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope.
Umberto Eco, Italy
Ecos dense novels, such as The Name of the Rose and Foucaults Pendulum, are a dizzying blend of philosophy, biblical analysis, and arcane literary references. An expert in the burgeoning field of semiotics, he is president of the Advanced School of Humanist Studies at the University of Bologna.
Fan Gang, China
Foreign analysts watch closely the remarks of Fan, the influential director of the government-affiliated National Economic Research Institute in Beijing and a leading reform advocate, for clues about what Chinese leaders are thinking about the global economy.
Drew Gilpin Faust, United States
University president, historian
Harvard Universitys first female president, Faust is a respected historian of the American Civil War and the author of six books, including most recently This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.
Niall Ferguson, Britain
The Laurence A. Tisch professor of history at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Ferguson is a prolific author best known for The Pity of War, his counterintuitive take on the British role in World War I. He wrote Empires with Expiration Dates in the September/October 2006 issue of FP and A World Without Power in the July/August 2004 issue.
Alain Finkielkraut, France
One of Frances most prominent columnists, the controversial Finkielkraut teaches about the history of ideas at the cole Polytechnique in Paris and is a polemical critic of modern French society.
Thomas Friedman, United States
FriedmanNew York Times foreign affairs commentator, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and author of The World Is Flat and From Beirut to Jerusalemis one of the worlds most popular and influential syndicated columnists. He wrote The First Law of Petropolitics for the May/June 2006 issue of FP.
Francis Fukuyama, United States
Renowned for declaring The End of History after the fall of the Soviet Union, Fukuyama is professor of international political economy at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and author most recently of America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy. He wrote The Worlds Most Dangerous Ideas: Transhumanism for the September/October 2004 issue of FP.
Yegor Gaidar, Russia
Gaidar was Boris Yeltsins acting prime minister from June 15 to December 14, 1992 and a proponent of shock therapy for the Russian economy. He is a contributing editor to FP.
Howard Gardner, United States
The John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Gardner is the recipient of a MacArthur genius grant and the author of more than 20 books, most recently Responsibility at Work and Five Minds for the Future. He wrote 21 Solutions to Save the World: An Embarrassment of Riches for the May/June 2007 issue of FP.
Neil Gershenfeld, United States
Physicist, computer scientist
Gershenfeld heads the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he takes an interdisciplinary approach to quantum computing, nanotechnology, and personal fabrication. He is author most recently of Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your DesktopFrom Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication.
Malcolm Gladwell, Canada/United States
Pop sociologist, journalist
Author of Blink and The Tipping Point, Gladwell is a National Magazine Award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker.
Al Gore, United States
Climate change activist, politician
Since serving two terms as Bill Clintons vice president in the 1990s, Gore has become a leading advocate on climate change and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He starred in the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
Ramachandra Guha, India
An Indian historian, columnist and MacArthur fellow, Guha has taught in the United States, Norway, and now in Bangalore. He is author of India After Gandhi.
Alma Guillermoprieto, Mexico
A Mexican journalist and a MacArthur fellow, Guillermoprieto has written extensively in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and the Washington Post. A veteran war correspondent, she is a former South America bureau chief for Newsweek and author of Dancing with Cuba. Her chronicles of Latin Americas lost decade were published as The Heart That Bleeds in 1994.
Fethullah Glen, Turkey
A modernist Islamic scholar and leader of the movement named after him, Glen is widely considered one of the most important Muslim thinkers alive today. He has authored more than 60 books.
Jrgen Habermas, Germany
Habermass diverse interests range from epistemology to the rule of law, but his most influential work is on the public spherethe arena in which arguments about political matters take place. He is author of The Theory of Communicative Action and, most recently, The Dialectics of Secularization, a dialogue with Joseph Ratzinger.
Vaclav Havel, Czech Republic
A leading dissident and repeated political prisoner during the Soviet era, Havel became president of Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution of 1989, saw his country through a transition to a democratic market economy, and managed the split with Slovakia.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somalia/Netherlands
A former member of the Dutch parliament and a fierce critic of the role of women in Islam, Ali has feared for her life since writing the screenplay for Submission, the provocative short film that led to Theo van Goghs murder.
Christopher Hitchens, Britain/United States
One of the English languages most sought-after polemicists, Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. He wrote The Plight of the Public Intellectual in the May/June 2008 issue of FP.
Hu Shuli, China
Managing editor of Caijing, a top Chinese business magazine, Hu is a veteran journalist, author, and panelist for the Washington Post's PostGlobal.
Samuel Huntington, United States
Through such works as Political Order in Changing Societies, Huntingtons influence on his field is profound, but his most famous book is certainly The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Currently the Albert J. Weatherhead III professor at Harvard University, Huntington cofounded Foreign Policy in 1970. He wrote his provocative article The Hispanic Challenge for the March/April 2004 issue of FP.
Michael Ignatieff, Canada
Human rights theorist, politician
A past winner of the Gelber Prize for his book Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism, Ignatieff is a leading thinker on human rights issues. He is deputy leader of Canadas Liberal Party and former head of Harvard Universitys Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.
Tony Judt, Britain
Judt is the Erich Maria Remarque professor in European studies at New York University, author of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, and a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books.
Robert Kagan, United States
Author, political commentator
An influential columnist for the Washington Post and elsewhere, Kagan is senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author most recently of The Return of History and the End of Dreams. He wrote From Victory to Success: Looking for Legitimacy in All the Wrong Places in the July/August 2003 issue of FP.
Daniel Kahneman, Israel/United States
A Nobel laureate for his work on prospect theory, Kahneman is senior scholar at Princeton Universitys Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Eugene Higgins professor of psychology emeritus at Princeton. He cowrote Why Hawks Win in the January/February 2007 issue of FP, which was selected for publication in The Best American Political Writing 2007.
Garry Kasparov, Russia
Democracy activist, chess grandmaster
Since his days as a world chess champion, Kasparov has become an outspoken critic of outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin. Chairman of the United Civil Front, a democratic activist group, he wrote 21 Solutions to Save the World: A Global Magna Carta for the May/June 2007 issue of FP.
Amr Khaled, Egypt
An entrepreneurial preacher and broadcaster, Khaled is an accountant by training but a born evangelical leader. The moderate Khaled, who preaches a message of tolerance and personal redemption through Islam, is wildly popular among younger Muslims in the Arab world.
Rem Koolhaas, Netherlands
Koolhaas is Pritzker Prize-winning principal at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, but his influence extends to urban theory, journalism, and beyond. The cofounder of Volume magazine, his most famous works include Maison Bordeaux, the Seattle Public Library, and the Casa da Musica hall in Porto, Portugal. He is professor in practice at Harvard Universitys architecture department and author of Delirious New York and S,M,L,XL.
Ivan Krastev, Bulgaria
Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Krastev is editor of FPs Bulgarian edition and author of What Russia Wants in the May/June 2008 issue of FP.
Enrique Krauze, Mexico
Krauze is publisher of Editorial Clo and editor of Letras Libres, a Mexican cultural magazine. He is author of Mexico: Biography of Power.
Paul Krugman, United States
A fiery political commentator for the New York Times and a respected trade theorist, Krugman is a John Bates Clark Medal-winning economist at Princeton University. His most recent book is The Conscience of a Liberal. He wrote Europe Jobless, America Penniless? in the Summer 1994 issue of FP.
Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore
Politician, national patriarch
Lee stepped down as prime minister in 1990, but he remains a towering figure in Singaporean politics. His current post is minister mentor, a job created just for him. He wrote Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Laissez-Faire Procreation for the September/October 2005 issue of FP.
Lawrence Lessig, United States
Legal scholar, activist
The darling of cyberspace for his efforts to reduce restrictions on intellectual property, Lessig is professor of law at Stanford University and author of The Future of Ideas. He wrote The Internet Under Siege for the November/December 2001 issue of FP.
Steven Levitt, United States
Best known for coauthoring Freakonomics with Stephen J. Dubner, Levitt is the Alvin Baum professor of economics at the University of Chicago. A 2003 winner of the John Bates Clark Medal for economists under 40, his most famous work links the rise in abortions to the drop in crime rates in the United States.
Bernard Lewis, Britain/United States
Eminent scholar of the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East, and Islam, Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge professor emeritus of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University. His most recent book is From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East.
Bjrn Lomborg, Denmark
Controversial for his view, as expounded upon in The Skeptical Environmentalist, that combating global crises such as HIV/AIDS ought to take precedence over fighting climate change, Lomborg wrote 21 Solutions to Save the World: Take Your Vitamins for the May/June 2007 issue of FP.
James Lovelock, Britain
Lovelocks great contribution to science is the famous Gaia hypothesis, the idea that Earth can be thought of as a giant organism. A developer of numerous scientific instruments used by NASA, Lovelock is author most recently of The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Backand How We Can Still Save Humanity.
Mahmood Mamdani, Uganda
Mamdani is the Herbert Lehman professor of government in the anthropology, political science, and international affairs departments at Columbia University and was director of the Institute of African Studies there until 2004. He is the author most recently of Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror.
Minxin Pei, China
A senior associate and director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he is author of Chinas Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy and wrote The Dark Side of Chinas Rise for the March/April 2006 issue of FP.
Ashis Nandy, India
A scholar at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, Nandy studies political psychology, mass violence, cultures and politics of knowledge, utopias and visions.
Sunita Narain, India
Director of Indias Centre for Science and Environment, Narain is a leading advocate of sustainable development and a strong supporter of fairness in environmental negotiations. She won the 2005 Stockholm Water Prize for the centers work on water management.
Martha Nussbaum, United States
Nussbaum, currently the Ernst Freund distinguished service professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago, is a classicist with a special interest in female equality. She is author most recently of Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America's Tradition of Religious Equality and wrote The World's Most Dangerous Ideas: Religious Intolerance for the September/October 2004 issue of FP.
Sari Nusseibeh, Palestine
Nusseibeh is professor of philosophy and president of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. A leading Palestinian moderate, Nusseibeh worked with former Israeli Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon in 2002 and 2003 to develop The Peoples Voice peace initiative.
Amos Oz, Israel
A professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University, the influential Oz was among the first to advocate a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He cofounded Peace Now in 1978. His most recent nonfiction book is How to Cure a Fanatic.
Orhan Pamuk, Turkey
Pamuk won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006 after a year in which he faced criminal charges in Turkey for his frank comments about the Armenian genocide. His most famous books are My Name Is Red, Snow, and Istanbul: Memories and the City.
David Petraeus, United States
The commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq, Petraeus is the architect of the U.S. militarys revised field manual on counterinsurgency.
Steven Pinker, Canada/United States
Steven Pinker is the Johnstone family professor at Harvard University and author of seven books, including The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. A frequent essayist for such publications as the New York Times, Time magazine, and Slate, Pinker focuses on language and cognition in his research.
Richard Posner, United States
Richard Posner is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the author of dozens of influential works on everything from legal philosophy and jurisprudence to catastrophic climate change. His most recent book is How Judges Think.
Samantha Power, United States
A former foreign-policy advisor to Barack Obamas presidential campaign, Power is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. She is the Anna Lindh professor of practice of global leadership and public policy at Harvard Universitys Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.
Robert Putnam, United States
Putnam, a Harvard University professor of political science, is best known for Bowling Alone, his study of the decline in civic participation in the United States.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Egypt/Qatar
Perhaps the most influential preacher in Sunni Islam, Qaradawi hosts the weekly show Sharia and Life on the Al Jazeera satellite channel.
V.S. Ramachandran, India
Ramachandran directs the Center for Brain and Cognition and at the University of California, San Diego. Richard Dawkins calls him the Marco Polo of neuroscience for his work on behavioral neurology. His best-known book is Phantoms in the Brain.
Tariq Ramadan, Switzerland
Philosopher, scholar of Islam
Born in Switzerland, Ramadan is a prominent advocate for a European version of Islam. A grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, he was interviewed in the November/December 2004 issue of FP. His most recent book is In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad.
Gianni Riotta, Italy
Journalist, political commentator
A columnist for the Corriere Della Sera newspaper and one of Italys foremost pundits, Riotta is a contributing editor to FP. He is author of the novel Prince of the Clouds and wrote Who Wins in Iraq? Old Europe for the March/April 2007 issue of FP.
Nouriel Roubini, Italy/United States
A widely cited expert on international macroeconomics and finance, Roubini is chairman of RGE Monitor and professor of economics at New York Universitys Stern School of Business. He wrote The Coming Financial Pandemic in the March/April 2008 issue of FP.
Olivier Roy, France
One of the worlds top scholars of political Islam and terrorist movements, Roy is research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research. His 1992 book The Failure of Political Islam remains essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand contemporary Islamism.
Salman Rushdie, Britain
His second novel, Midnights Children, won a prestigious Booker Prize in 1981. But Rushdie wasnt catapulted to international fame until Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei condemned him to death in 1989 for writing The Satanic Verses. Rushdie was knighted in 2007.
Jeffrey Sachs, United States
A former special advisor to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the Millennium Development Goals, Sachs directs the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is author of The End of Poverty and wrote 21 Solutions to Save the World: How to Stop a Serial Killer for the May/June 2007 issue of FP.
Fernando Savater, Spain
Best known for his insights on ethics, religion, and terrorism, Savater is philosophy professor at the Complutense University of Madrid.
Amartya Sen, India
Sen is an Indian-born economist whose influence spans the globe and ranges far beyond his field. He won the 1998 Nobel Prize in economics for his work on poverty, development, and democracy. Presently, he is the Lamont university professor at Harvard University.
Lilia Shevtsova, Russia
A senior associate at the Moscow Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Shevtsova is author of Putins Russia and RussiaLost in Transition. She wrote Think Again: Vladimir Putin for the January/February 2008 issue of FP.
Peter Singer, Australia
Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp professor of bioethics at Princeton University and a controversial advocate of animal liberation. His many books include Practical Ethics and Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics. Singer wrote Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: The Sanctity of Life for the September/October 2005 issue of FP.
Lee Smolin, United States/Canada
Smolin is a theoretical physicist whose work on quantum gravity and fecund universes has established him as a leading thinker on some of the biggest questions in physics. Since, 2001, he has been a founding and senior researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. Smolin is author of The Life of the Cosmos and The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next.
Abdolkarim Soroush, Iran
A leading figure on the Iranian left, Soroush is currently a visiting scholar at Georgetown Universitys Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. His most important works are collected in Reason, Freedom, and Democracy in Islam: Essential Writings of Abdolkarim Soroush.
Wole Soyinka, Nigeria
Winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, Soyinka is one of Africas most distinguished playwrights. Soyinka was imprisoned during the Nigerian civil war and became a fierce critic of subsequent Nigerian regimes. He is formerly the Elias Ghanem professor of creative writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Michael Spence, United States
Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, Spence is known for his work on signaling in the job market. He is a Hoover Institution fellow, Philip H. Knight professor emeritus, and former dean of Stanford Universitys Graduate School of Business.
Lawrence Summers, United States
A U.S. Treasury secretary under the Clinton administration and a former president of Harvard University, Summers is a columnist for the Financial Times and a member of the editorial board of Foreign Policy. He shared his Epiphanies in the March/April 2008 issue of FP.
Charles Taylor, Canada
Author most recently of A Secular Age, Taylor is known for his communitarian political philosophy.
Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru
An astonishingly prolific author and essayist, Vargas Llosa is one of the giants of contemporary Latin American literature. His most acclaimed work is The Green House. He is the 1994 recipient of the prestigious Miguel de Cervantes Prize.
Harold Varmus, United States
A former director of the National Institutes of Health, Varmus won the Nobel Prize in Medicine (along with J. Michael Bishop) for his cancer research. He now heads the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.
J. Craig Venter, United States
Famous for trying to compete with the Human Genome Project, Venter currently heads Synthetic Genomics, a company that aims to produce alternative fuels using microorganisms.
Michael Walzer, United States
A leading U.S. political theorist who has written extensively about the concept of just war, Walzer is coeditor of the leftist quarterly Dissent. He is professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study and author most recently of Politics and Passion: Toward A More Egalitarian Liberalism.
Wang Hui, China
Wang is professor of Chinese language and literature at Tsinghua University. Sent to the hinterlands for his role in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Wang is a leading member of Chinas New Left movement and a past editor of Dushu, one of Chinas most influential literary journals.
E.O. Wilson, United States
A two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner (for On Human Nature and The Ants) and naturalist, Wilson argues that human behavior can largely be explained by biology. He is Pellegrino university professor emeritus of entomology at Harvard University.
Martin Wolf, Britain
Perhaps the worlds most influential economics commentator, Wolf is associate editor and a columnist for the Financial Times. He is author of Why Globalization Works and wrote Who Wins in Iraq?: The United Nations for the March/April 2007 issue of FP.
Yan Xuetong, China
Yan, a forceful advocate of Chinas national strength, is director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University. Yuan Ming reviewed his 1996 book, On Analysis of China's National Interests, for the Summer 1997 issue of FP.
Muhammad Yunus, Bangladesh
Recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, Yunus is the founder of the Grameen Bank and a pioneer in the field of microfinance. He shared his Epiphanies in the January/February 2008 issue of FP.
Fareed Zakaria, United States
Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International and author of The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad. He wrote The Worlds Most Dangerous Ideas: Hating America for the September/October 2004 issue of FP.
Slavoj Zizek, Slovenia
A self-described Marxist philosopher, sociologist, and cultural critic, Zizek is senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Ljubljana.