Over the past 11 years, Foreign Policy has been bringing out its annual list of 100 Leading Global Thinkers. From artists to politicians to leaders to private citizens waging a battle to make the world a better place, the list has included them all.

The first list was released in 2005. Between 2010 and 2014, Foreign Policy took out a list every year, except in 2015. This year’s list has been divided into nine different categories, ranging from decision-makers to innovators, artists, advocates, chronicles, moguls, stewards, healers and the challengers.

The decision-makers’ list, which features external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, consists of 16 names from the political arena of the world. Eight of these are women, a significant number in light of the fact that 2016 was also the year which saw some of the worst misogyny play out in the political arena, be it the American presidential elections, or a vote to choose Tokyo’s governor.

1) Sushma Swaraj (India)

Photo: HT
Photo: HT

India’s external affairs minister is on the decision-makers’ list. She has been particularly lauded for her role in managing Indian migrant workers in July in Saudi Arabia when jobs were cut and salaries withheld. “From evacuating Indians from Yemen to helping replace lost passports, Swaraj has earned the nickname, ‘the common tweeple’s leader’ for her aggressive use of Twitter," Foreign Policy says.

2) Hillary Clinton (US)

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

She may have lost the race but Clinton has forever won the respect of people across the globe, even her harshest critics. In a campaign marked by lies, open misogyny and fear against the other, Clinton held her ground and her grace.

3) Angela Merkel (Germany)

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

She has stood up for human values at the cost of her own political career. Foreign Policy lauded her efforts to welcome refugees and integrate them in Germany, writing, “she’s refused to pander to populist scapegoating."

4) Tsai Ing Wen (Taiwan)

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Taiwan’s first woman President is on the list for making the island’s sovereignty a top priority.

5) Nicola Sturgeon (Scotland)

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Leader, Scottish National Party is credited with the Scots overwhelming majority decision to remain in the European Union during the Brexit Vote. Her chief political issue remains independence for her home country.

6) Yuriko Koike (Japan)

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Sexism, the preference of lesser experienced male candidate, snide remarks about her personal appearance—Hillary Clinton wasn’t the only woman politician to face all of this in 2016. Koike who was elected governor of Tokyo in July broke away from her party after it endorsed a lesser-known male candidate. Women empowerment is a key part of her governance strategy.

7) Carolyn Bennett (Canada)and Marion Buller (Canada)

The minister of indigenous and northern affairs and judge, Canada were included in the list for probing the sustained violence against aboriginal women in Canada since 1980.

8) Loretta Lynch (US attorney general)

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

For her fierce defence of transgenders rights in America.

9) Ban Ki-moon (South Korea)

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

UN secretary general was included in the list for converting the Paris Agreement into a law. He lobbied for 55 states to ratify the agreement “with haste", Foreign Policy writes. US ratified it in September, two months before it elected Donald Trump, a notable climate change sceptic, as its new President.

10) Joko Widodo (Indonesia)

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

President, Indonesia was put on the list for acknowledging the military-backed massacre of communist sympathizers in 1965.

11) Nayib Bukele (El Salvador)

Mayor, San Salvador/El Salvador has introduced an innovative set of urban-policy prescriptions like revitalizing San Salvador’s downtown and installing streetlights on every block in an attempt to check crime.

12) Sadiq Khan (London mayor)

Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

For continuing to advocate integration and embracing of diversity after Brexit, a brave choice but braver still for the first Muslim leader of a major European city.

13) Jin Liqun (China)

Jin Liqun, president, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank China for heading a lending institution which is Beijing’s challenge to the US dominated world bank.

14) Rasmus Hansson (Norway)

Rasmus Hansson, Parliamentarian Norway: For making green a priority for the government.

15) Justin Trudeau (Canada)

Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, Canada: For sticking to his promise to accept and re-settle Syrian refugees. Canada has now given asylum to 30,000 refugees.

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