Roy Exum: I Only Knew 23 (Part One)

  • Thursday, April 19, 2012
  • Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

The newest issue of Time Magazine contains its 2012 version of “The World’s Most Influential People” and the first list I could find gave only the names. Since I figure I’m pretty keen on news of this nature, I was amazed to find I could identify only 23 of the names who some beard-strokers in a dark office feel are the most important of us on the planet.

So I googled one or two – people I’ve never heard of. Then I searched out three or four more and suddenly I learned these are hardly the “most influential” among us but instead a bedazzling collection of the greatest heroes who walk on earth.

The more I studied, the more I exalted in my search because each person has already left an indelible mark on mankind.

The list – with a brief description of each  – is too long to write for one day so today let me give you the first 50 with the promise the rest will follow tomorrow in “Part Two.” I hate stories that are split but, as you’ll see, the length is prohibitive.

Here is the first half of Time Magazine’s collection and, to find out much more about this year’s group, there is a better description written by celebrity friends in this week’s issue of the magazine, which is now on sale at newsstands:

JEREMY LIN – The first Asian-American basketball player to star in the NBA. Known for his grit, his intensity and his courage.

CHRISTIAN MARCLAY – An artist whose film “The Clock” has met with widespread approval.

VIOLA DAVIS – The African-American actress who captured our hearts in the movie, “The Help.”

SALMAN KHAN – A Silicon Valley teacher whose “Khan Academy” teaching series allows children to learn at their own pace.

TIM TEBOW – An NFL football player whose values led over 20,000 to listen to him preach on Easter morning.

E.L. JAMES – The pen name of Erika Leonard, is a mother of two who dabbled in erotic writing on the Internet, and just wrote an on-line book called “Fifty Shades of Grey” that is now the No. 1 best-seller in America.

LOUIS CK – a comedian who writes, edits and produces an on-line hit called “Louie.”RIHANNA – A superstar singer from Barbados who is already an icon among the young and beautful.

MARIO RUBIO – A second-generation Cuban-America who is a compelling U.S. Senator.

ALI FERZAT – A cartoonist from Syria who was brutally attacked for his views and, although his hands were broken, continues his work. 

RENE REDZEPI – A Copenhagen chef who has stirred a rebirth on Nordic cuisine.

KRISTEN WIIG – An actress who starred in her screenplay “Bridesmaids.”

ANTHONY KENNEDY – The Supreme Court Associate Justice whose swing vote decides many cases.

NOVACK DJOKOVIC --  The refreshing tennis champion from Serbia whose sense of humor is so delightful.

BEN RATTRAY – An organizer whose site,, allows stories to enjoy freedom.

JESSICA CHASTAIN --  A movie actress who received rave reviews for her role in “Wilde Salome.”

YANI TSENG – At just 23, she is the No. 1 female Golfer in the world.

RAPHAEL SAADIQ – A singer whose album, “The Way I See It,” was the hit of the year.

ELINOR OSTROM – A female economist who, at age 78, is considered a genius.

SAMIRA IBRAHIM – A 25-year-old Eygpian woman who has the courage to be a plaintiff in the world court over her country’s forced “virginity tests.”

JOSE ANDRES – A Spanish activist who is also an “advocate, promoter, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and artist.

ANN PATCHETT – A 46-year-old writer from Nashville who, with partner Karen Hayes, opened a revolutionary book store called “Parnassus Books.”

DULCE MATUZ – An immigration activist in Arizona who, at age 27, says, “We are Americans, and Americans don’t give up.”

HENRIK SCHARFE – A Denmark inventor who is using a robot, Geminoid-DK, to prove new technology is exciting.

FREEMAN HRABOWSKI – A brilliant educator who, when he was 12, was jailed in Birmingham after notorious sheriff Bull Connor spat in his face during a race riot. Today the 61-year-old is president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

MARYAM DURANI –  An outspoken radio broadcaster in Kandalar providence of Afghanistan who was recently among those honored worldwide as an “International Woman of Courage.”

MANAL AL-SHARIF – A Saudi-Arabian divorced mother of two who recently defied a state law that banned women from driving automobiles.

ANJALI GOPALAN –  A heroine in India who treats HIV patients and runs a home for HIV orphans.

RACHED GHANNOUCHI – A politician  in Tunisian (north Africa) whose moderate views are being hailed for saving his country.

BABARA VAN DALHEN – A tenacious advocate of mental health, she has mobilized thousands of volunteers through her organization, “Give An Hour.”

RON FOUCHIER – A 45-year-old virologist, he identifies disease that could adversely affect human beings.

DONALD SADOWAY – The famed energy engineer at MIT deals heavily in “our future.”

HANS ROLING – A medical statistician who is a world leader in advancing the public understanding of science.

ASGHAR FARHADI – An Iranian filmmaker whose movie, “The Separation” won an Oscar.

SARAH BURTON – A dynamic clothing designer who thinks “about women and art and stories, weaves her tale into the future of fashion.

ANONYMOUS – A “leaderless Internet hive brain is plundering and playing in the electronic networks of an ever shifting enemies list.” I know them well.

PETE CASHMORE – A 26-year-old Scotsman who, through “,” is an expert on the digital world.

CAMI ANDERSON – A New Jersey school superintendent hailed as a driving force in the future of public education.

ALI BABACAN &  AHMET DAVUTOGLU – The Turkish prime minister and economic minister have positioned their country for the future.

AI-JEN POO – She founded the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which has given much-needed respect to maids, nannies and other household workers. 

MARC ANDEERSSEN –  He started the Internet first browser and, with a $2.7 billion war-chest, is a huge player on the Internet.

PREET BHARARA – A criminal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, he has a 58-0 record in insider-trading scofflaws.

ROBERT GRANT – An AIDS researcher, he has made great strides in fighting a disease that has already killed 30 million people.

ANDREW LO – An economist at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, he has used neuroscience and other avenues to better understand financial markets.

SHARMEEN OBAID-CHINOY – A Pakistani filmmaker whose movie, “Saving Face,” focused on acid violence and won an Oscar.

ALEXEI NAVALNY –  A 35-year-old Russian who built a network to reveal the corruption of the Putin regime, relentlessly documenting the kleptocracy case by case, with popular outrage as the result.

RAY DALIO – A hedge-fund trader with Bridgewater, he manages $120 billion in assets.

HAMAD BIN JASSIM BIN JABER AL-THANI – Serving as Qatar’s Prime minister and foreign minister, the 52-year-old sheik is world renowned as a peace maker.

CHELSEA HANDLER – The funny lady is an up-and-comer; she already owns her own media empire.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN – An award-winning movie producer, he just added the much-needed “Bully” to his impressive list of credits.

(To Be Continued)

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