59. Ory Okolloh
for teaching us how to crowdsource emergency relief.
Executive director, Ushahidi | Kenya
When Kenya exploded in a frenzy of reprisal killings after its disputed 2007 elections, Ory Okolloh realized that no one knew where the violence was taking place, how often, and against whom. So together with a few tech-savvy friends she launched Ushahidi (a Swahili word meaning "testimony"), a site that allowed users to report violent incidents using their mobile phones, creating a real-time map of the conflict.
By 2010, Ushahidi was being deployed for everything from the earthquake in Haiti to the floods in Pakistan to immigration reform in Arizona, transforming emergency response. "What we're trying is [to] break down the … top-down approach" to conflict monitoring, she told FP.
Okolloh is much more than a tech guru. Mzalendo, a website that she co-founded in 2003, lets citizens monitor the performance of Kenya's notoriously corrupt politicians. And on her popular blog, Kenyan Pundit, Okolloh champions a new African generation, driving the continent to the forefront of the digital age.
60. Fan Gang
for articulating how China can become more than the world's factory floor.
Director, National Economic Research Institute | China
In the often-opaque, sometimes deliberately obscure world of Chinese high finance, Fan Gang is a welcome window of accessible high-level opinion. As director of the National Economic Research Institute, as well as a sometime advisor to the Chinese central bank, Fan carries substantial weight both inside and outside the government. This unique balance allows him to authoritatively articulate Beijing's priorities, as in September when he argued that a large appreciation in China's currency wouldn't help the global economy, and to occasionally, ever-so-gently, push back against the status quo, as when he told the Los Angeles Times that if China doesn't add 150 million jobs over the next 20 years to keep up with growth, "we could face social crises." "China feels cornered," he added, a telling admission of vulnerability from within China's new establishment.
61. Ayaan Hirsi Ali
for her staunch defense of Western values.
Scholar, American Enterprise Institute | Washington
The first time you heard about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it was likely the story of a brave Muslim woman fleeing her forced marriage in Somalia to become an outspoken critic of Islam. But her flight didn't stop there; after more than a decade living in the Netherlands, she left Europe and its painful debates over assimilation for more comfortable ground: conservative America. With her 2010 book, Nomad, we get a glimpse of the intellectual foundations of her spiritual and political revolt. Hirsi Ali argues that the key to eliminating extremism is for the West to embrace its own "side" of a cultural war that is already very much happening.
Detractors have called Hirsi Ali's argument bigoted, naive, and even dangerous in a world where intolerance is already all too rife. But she brushes off the criticism, telling the Daily Telegraph, "It's important once you get your voice to keep going."
Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images
62. Tariq Ramadan
for remaining convinced Islam can make peace with the West.
Philosopher, Oxford University | Britain
Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss-born scholar of Islam at Oxford University, has made a career out of convincing European Muslims that it is indeed possible to reconcile democracy with religious dogma. This year's reversal of a Bush-era U.S. travel ban on him paved the way for Ramadan to make his case to American Muslims as well.
His American debut wasn't met with universal praise -- the New Yorker's George Packer accused him of avoiding "hard questions about the conflicts between the open society and fundamentalism." It's a charge that also bedevils Ramadan throughout Europe, where his critics have assailed his willingness to say one thing on French television and quite another when addressing a neighborhood mosque.
But Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, argues that the Western and Muslim worlds share more values than they commonly admit -- and sees his role as bringing greater appreciation of this to both cultures. "A mediator is a bridge," he wrote in his recent book What I Believe, "and a bridge never belongs to one side only."