April 19 (UPI) — Time magazine released its list of the 100 most influential people of 2018 Thursday, naming a variety of activists (the Parkland shooting survivors), actors (Gal Gadot) and even the subject of an American fairy tale (Meghan Markle).
Published for the first time in 1999 and annually since 2004, the Time 100 list recognizes people who have changed the world — for better or worse.
“The Time 100 isn’t a measure of power, though many on the list wield it. Nor is it a collection of milestones accumulated,” Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote in explaining how the magazine arrives at its list each year. “As our staff considers candidates, we often find ourselves wowed by those with stunning lifetime achievements. But editorial director Dan Macsai, maestro of the Time 100, brings us back to the key question: Was this their year?”
Felsenthal said the 2018 list had a record 45 people under age 40, including five of the student survivors of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Former President Barack Obama — named to the list a record 11 times — wrote an essay on five of the most vocal anti-gun activists to arise out of that tragedy — Jaclyn Corin, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and Alex Wind.
Obama wrote that unlike in previous mass school shootings in the United States, the students have become vocal, “calling us to account.”
“But they have the power so often inherent in youth: to see the world anew; to reject the old constraints, outdated conventions and cowardice too often dressed up as wisdom,” he wrote. “The power to insist that America can be better.”
Time also named a host of world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a triumvirate of men who have agreed — at least in principle — to hold direct talks over efforts to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear proliferation and aggression.
Though there is some efforts for peace on the peninsula after the North joined the South for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, not everyone has high hopes for the success of the talks.
Hyeonseo Lee, a North Korean defector and author living in South Korea, called Kim “the most dangerous person on the planet.”
“In North Korea, more than 100,000 people face torture and death in forced-labor camps, where one defector witnessed a mother forced to drown her own baby,” he wrote for the Time list. “The camps and regular public executions keep people deaf, dumb and blind in loyalty to his regime.”
Trump said Thursday he’d be willing to walk away from the planned talks this summer if he doesn’t think it’s going to be successful.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, offered praise for Trump in his own essay for Time.
“President Trump is doing what he was elected to do: disrupt the status quo. That scares the heck out of those who have controlled Washington for decades, but for millions of Americans, their confusion is great fun to watch,” he wrote.
The #MeToo movement also got a nod in this year’s Time list, which named journalists Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Ronan Farrow for their exposes on Harvey Weinstein, accused of rampant sexual harassment and misconduct.
And Lynda Carter — the original Wonder Woman from the 1970s — offered praise for Gal Gadot, the cinematic version of the superhero that helped “transform how women and girls see themselves.”
Three stars from another superhero movie, blockbuster Black Panther — director Ryan Coogler, and actors Chadwick Boseman and Sterling K. Brown — also earned recognition.
“What kind of person attracts unprecedented acclaim, the likes of which has never been seen in the history of cinema? A person with extraordinary talent, yes. But also one with a spirit of integrity. One deserving of this light,” fellow filmmaker Ava DuVernay wrote of Coogler.
Time highlighted American actor Meghan Markle, who is set to become British royalty later this year when she marries Prince Harry. But it’s not just her celebrity or future status that made her remarkable, her friend and fellow actor Priyanka Chopra said.
“Her compassion, evident in the causes she supports, and her drive to break down stereotypes –obvious in her actions — will connect her to a generation in much need of kindness,” Chopra wrote.
And perhaps not as widely known, Time also gave nods to a slew of scientists, researchers and community leaders, like Huntington, W.Va., fire chief Jan Vader, working to battle the opioid epidemic; cancer researcher Carl June; Dr. Ann McKee, who is breaking ground in chronic traumatic encephalopathy; and astronaut Peggy Whitson.