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61. Salam Fayyad
for showing how to govern effectively in the middle of a conflict.
Prime minister | Palestinian National Authority | West Bank
With his boss tottering and peace talks stagnating, Fayyad has emerged as the last, best hope for a permanent settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Fayyad, who holds a Ph.D. in economics, rose to prominence as the IMF's representative in the Palestinian territories, where he subsequently became finance minister. In June 2007, he was promoted to prime minister, finally giving him the authority to root out corruption and embark on institutional reforms, such as making the Palestinian Authority's notoriously opaque annual budget public. Now, he is calling for the creation of a Palestinian state within two years -- regardless of the progress of peace talks. With the West Bank's economy projected to grow 7 percent in 2009, Fayyad is building a reputation as an effective guarantor of his people's economic and political welfare. In this region, that's no small thing.
Wants to visit: South Africa
Best idea: Obama's "reaching-out" doctrine.
Worst idea: That keeping Gaza under siege is working.
62. Xu Zhiyong
for driving the debate in China about citizens' rights.
Legal activist | Gongmeng think tank | China
Xu is, in the words of the New Yorker's Evan Osnos, "as close as China gets to a public-interest icon." The legal scholar and activist has emerged as a vocal champion of victims' rights in just about every major legal scandal of recent years, offering pro bono advice to victims of police brutality, tainted milk products, and extrajudicial detention. Reflecting Xu's strong belief in working for change within the system, the primary mission of Gongmeng, the legal think tank he co-founded in 2003, is to protect the rights to which Chinese citizens are theoretically already entitled. But though he is an independent elected legislator and has received multiple accolades in the state-run media, he found himself on the wrong side of an increasingly mistrustful Chinese administration this year. In July, Gongmeng was shut down for alleged tax irregularities, and Xu was arrested and detained. Following a domestic and international outcry, he was released in late August, though he remains under surveillance.
Reading list: Baha'i Sacred Anthology; a history of Chinese philosophy; the Quran.
Wants to visit: Tanzania
63. Mario Vargas Llosa
for challenging the fiction of socialist utopia.
Novelist | Peru
One of Latin America's most beloved literary treasures, Peruvian novelist Vargas Llosa has transitioned seamlessly into the public realm, where he is an outspoken advocate of democracy and civil liberties in the region. "The socialism of the 21st century manifests in monstrous corruption of the sort that is present in Venezuela -- where all forms of communication are closed or threatened, economically blackmailed such that no one speaks the truth, and no one criticizes those in power," he has said. At home, Vargas Llosa has also pushed for reform, advocating, for example, a museum to commemorate the victims of Peru's brutal Shining Path guerrillas. Nor is he slacking in the literary department: This year he was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize.
Wants to visit: Ireland, because of the book that I am writing about Roger Casement.
Best idea: That for the first time the United States is acting with fairness and equanimity in the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.
Worst idea: That capitalism is doomed after the economic crisis.
Gadget: Only newspapers and books.
64. Michael Ignatieff
for showing that not all academics are irrelevant.
Liberal Party leader | Canada
Poised to become Canadian prime minister next year, only five years after leaving Harvard University's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Ignatieff is out to prove the relevance of academia -- and big ideas -- in politics. Ignatieff's writing on the sometime necessity of "violence … coercion, secrecy, deception, even violation of rights" to fight terrorism has made him a singular voice among Canadian liberals. His 2004 book, The Lesser Evil, made the case that targeted violence was necessary to prevent the possibility of falling victim to greater violence, but stressed that democratic states should not employ torture or be motivated by national pride or revenge. In 2006 he was elected to Canada's House of Commons and in 2008 became leader of the Liberal Party. As a politician, he's renewed his party's focus on human rights, the war in Afghanistan, and more recently, global climate change, which he defines in characteristically utilitarian fashion as "redistributing risk to the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world."
65. Francis Fukuyama
for creating a foreign-policy paradigm that has defined almost two decades of argument.
Political philosopher | Johns Hopkins University | Washington
The foreign-policy world can be pretty cleanly split into two groups: those who passionately agree with "The End of History," and those who passionately disagree. Fukuyama's seminal work came out 20 years ago, but its central conclusion -- that liberal democracy will supplant other political ideologies as the dominant paradigm of the 21st century -- remains the crucial issue of the day. With Moscow and Beijing flexing their global muscles and the recession driving Western democracies inward, Fukuyama's thesis might seem in doubt, but he's still making the case. "I am still fairly confident that democratic systems are the only viable ones," he told Newsweek. This year, Fukuyama joined in debates about the future of Iran -- arguing, against conventional wisdom, that it may be possible for the Islamic Republic to "evolve towards a genuine rule-of-law democracy," even while allowing for continued strong clerical influence.
Wants to visit: Ecuador
Best idea: Reforming the health-care system.
Worst idea: A tax write-off for pet care.
Gadget: Facebook and iPhone.
66. The Kagan Family (Donald, Robert, Frederick, and Kimberly)
for shaping the debate over Iraq and Afghanistan.
foreign-policy commentators | Yale University, Washington Post, American Enterprise Institute, Institute for the Study of War | New Haven, Conn.; Belgium; Washington
For the Kagans, war is a family affair. Patriarch Donald is a Yale University historian specializing in ancient Greece and one of the leading lights of the neoconservative movement. His sons, Robert and Frederick, played a central role in rallying support for the "surge" in Iraq when the war appeared at its most hopeless and served as forceful advocates for the strategy among their allies in George W. Bush's administration (Frederick as a scholar at the hawkish American Enterprise Institute, Robert as a columnist for the Washington Post). They were joined by Frederick's wife, Kimberly, who heads the Institute for the Study of War and later published an account of the war titled The Surge: A Military History. This year, the Kagans have thrown themselves into the Afghanistan debate; Kimberly served on Gen. Stanley McChrystal's strategic assessment team, and along with Frederick, she has called repeatedly for a fully resourced counterinsurgency effort. Robert, meanwhile, who lives in Brussels and is perhaps best known for arguing that "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus," holds a big-picture view of international affairs that justifies assertive U.S. intervention abroad. His latest book, The Return of History and the End of Dreams, calls for the creation of a "league of democracies" to promote political liberalization and human rights globally.
Wants to visit: India, still the great, yawning gap in my travels over the past 30 years.
Best idea: Gen. McChrystal's counterinsurgency plan for Afghanistan.
Worst idea: The Obama administration's new policy toward China -- "strategic reassurance."
Gadget: I find Twitter the most absurd development in an absurd era. I love my iPhone: the best communications device ever invented.
67. C. Raja Mohan
for his forceful advocacy of India's rise to great-power status.
political scientist | Nanyang Technological University | Singapore
With India on the verge of achieving its potential as a regional power, Mohan is one of the leading theorists pushing the world's largest democracy to abandon its traditional aloofness and seek full integration with the West. A strong U.S.-India partnership, Mohan argues in his influential columns for the Indian Express and The Hindu, will assist India in its continued economic rise -- and give the United States an ally in Asia that could provide vital assistance in halting the rise of radical Islam and checking China's rising power. Mohan praised George W. Bush's administration for its outreach to India, but urges the United States to husband its power more carefully and realize that it "cannot play God by resolving every single problem in the world."
Wants to visit: Indonesia
Best idea: The idea of a regional framework to stabilize Afghanistan.
Worst idea: The China-America G-2.
68. James Hansen
for his pioneering research and advocacy on climate change.
director | NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies | New York
Scientists tend to view their job as simply uncovering the facts -- doing something about them is the job of politicians and activists. But after 2½ decades of presenting his hair-raising findings about the threat of rising sea levels and melting glaciers in congressional hearings, scientific conferences, and academic papers, Hansen has come to believe that facts don't speak for themselves. When a new Bush-era policy directed him to deal with reporters only through communications staff, Hansen -- who developed one of the first computer models to predict the impact of rising CO2 levels on the Earth's temperature -- broke ranks and took his controversial story public. These days, he divides his time between GISS and anti-coal protests across the country. Earlier this year, he helped launch the "350 mission," a campaign to popularize the view that the best target for atmospheric carbon content is 350 parts per million -- much lower than previously thought.
69. Freeman Dyson
for bringing scientific rigor to climate-change skepticism.
Physicist | Institute for Advanced Study | Princeton, N.J.
Dyson, a physicist famous as much for his advocacy against nuclear weaponry as for his brilliance on quantum electrodynamics, dropped his own bomb in 2005. In a lecture at Boston University, the octogenarian Institute for Advanced Study scholar said that "all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated." Since then, Dyson has provided extensive commentary expanding on his doubts about climate change against the vitriolic criticism and even disdain his views have occasioned. Dyson is convinced that the James Hansens of the world might have the science wrong -- and that even if they do have it right, climate change might not be so bad. He argues that humanity and the Earth will be able to handle increased greenhouse gases and that lifting people in developing countries from poverty is more important than capping emissions. Like any good scientist, Dyson admits he could be mistaken. But no one is questioning the courage of his convictions.
70. Esther Dyson
for accurately forecasting how the Internet will shape us.
internet Entrepreneur | Edventure holdings | New York
Dyson describes herself as a "catalyst" -- an apt term for the ever-moving, ever-innovative high-tech guru (she and her father, No. 69, are the only parent-child pair on FP's list). She started out as a reporter, later owned her own business, and finally became an angel investor, seeding funds for everything from Eastern European philanthropy to civilian space travel. In a 1995 Wired magazine essay, she presciently theorized that the easy replication and distribution of digital content meant that companies would ultimately give it away for free and make money off other merchandise and services. Today, she predicts that advertisers will tailor content to individual users. She also predicts that people will increasingly view the solar system, rather than the planet, as their home, with companies seeking out revenue and materials throughout it.
Wants to visit: Iran
Best idea: Train unemployed workers to be teachers and build retirement homes next to orphanages.
Worst idea: Airport security.
Gadget: Facebook, Twitter, and BlackBerry.