Foreign Policy presents a unique portrait of 2010′s global marketplace of ideas and the thinkers who make them. 2 people on the FP list , Ory Okolloh and Ethan Zuckerman also made it onto MyWeku’s 20 Rainmakers list for 2010. See Here for Full FP (Foreign Policy) 100 Global Thinkers List.
46. Kwame Anthony Appiah
For forging a code of ethics to fit a globalized world.
Philosopher, Princeton University | Princeton, N.J.
Once described as “our postmodern Socrates,” Kwame Anthony Appiah has this year turned to the big subject of the social uses of honor around the world: His 2010 book, The Honor Code, documents how it has been used to bring about “moral revolutions” — the end of abhorrent practices such as slavery and foot-binding — in the past, and how it can be used to end present evils such as honor killings. “You have to figure out how to get honor to concede to morality,” the Princeton University professor said recently. “My thought is: Don’t abandon honor; reshape it.” It’s this unabashedly activist posture that sets Appiah — who wrote an eloquent letter nominating Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo for the Nobel Peace Prize — apart from many of his colleagues. In fitting abstract concepts to the changing demands of the modern world, he is trying to make philosophy relevant again.
Reading list: American Grace, by Robert Putnam and David Campbell; Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen; Fault Lines, by Raghuram Rajan.
Best idea: The World Health Organization’s “Global Patient Safety Challenge,” led by Atul Gawande.
Worst idea: The proposal, introduced at the United Nations, to prohibit “defamation of religion.”
China or India? Neither.
Kindle or iPad? iPad.
52. Mo Ibrahim
For holding Africa to high standards.
Founder, Mo Ibrahim Foundation | Britain
Mo Ibrahim, a Sudan-born cell-phone mogul, hatched a brilliant plan a few years back: to create a foundation solely targeted at inspiring better governance in Africa.
The heart of his initiative is the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s leadership prize, which grants $5 million over 10 years — plus a $200,000 annual stipend thereafter — to retired African heads of state who were democratic and incorruptible. For the last two years, however, not a single retired African leader has lived up to the selection committee’s standards. Indeed, this year Ibrahim’s continent-wide governance index warned of a possible backslide: Two-thirds of African countries are at risk of experiencing what Ibrahim dubbed a “democratic recession.” “Why are we poor?” Ibrahim asked TV host Charlie Rose in April. “It’s absolute mismanagement of our resources and our governments.”
Reading list: Sudan, by Richard Cockett; It’s Our Turn to Eat, by Michela Wrong; Fighting for Justice, by Jay Naidoo.
Best idea: Mobile operators such as Safaricom or Zain using mobile-phone-based transfer systems to create savings accounts and, recently, interest-bearing bank accounts.
Worst idea: Burning the Quran.
China or India? China.
Kindle or iPad? Neither.
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.
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.”
Reading list: Human Accomplishment, by Charles Murray; The Clash of Civilizations, by Samuel Huntington.
China or India? India.
Kindle or iPad? iPad.
85. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
for moving her country away from a troubled past.
President | Liberia
Africa’s first elected female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, came into office in 2006 promising to rebuild Liberia after decades of bloody civil wars. The years since have seen impressive success: Liberia boasts one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, former warlord-president Charles Taylor has been captured and put on trial for war crimes, Sirleaf has appointed women to lead a quarter of her ministries, and the country is beginning to rebuild its battered institutions and infrastructure.
Sirleaf’s tenure has not been flawless. Corruption remains endemic, and some of her closest allies have been forced to step down amid ongoing investigations. But as Liberia handles its newfound oil wealth, Sirleaf is gaining the world’s trust: “Today we have a very empowered society in which accountability is demanded by the people,” she says.