| Tuesday, May 09, 2006
| TIME'S PICK : INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD
|POPE BENEDICT XVI
The New Pontiff Finds His Voice
(by: Peggy Noonan)
He was not called John Paul II the Adequate. And so that was the challenge for Pope Benedict XVI in the first year of his pontificate: how to fill the shoes of the last man who filled the shoes of the fisherman. Benedict's first encyclical, issued on Christmas Day 2005, took some by surprise, it began with thoughts on .... love. In his first words he quoted the Apostle John: "God so love, and God abides in him." With unselfconscious clarity. Benedict wrote, "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction". You shall love your neighbor as yourself, he is saying. Love brings -- is -- charity. Look to the Good Samaritan for how to live. Look to St. Martin of Tours giving his cloak to a beggar.
This is God's Rottweiler? John Paul's enforcer? The man who bluntly told the Cardinals last year that they must clean the stables of the "filth" that had entered the church? According to those who have followed the work and life of Joseph Ratzinger -- now Pope Benedict -- this is the real him: the teacher, the thinker, the ponderer of deepest meanings. Benedict does not have the effortless theatrically and charisma of the young John Paul. But at his weekly audiences, Benedict, 79, has drawn larger crowds and as John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter has noted, people came to "see"John Paul, they come to "hear" Benedict.
(Peggy Noonan most recent book is John Paul the Great)
Master of the Universe
(By: Leslie Gelb)
YOU COULD SEE SOMETHING VERY SEPCIAL IN the young lady in 1986 when she entered for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. What was there went beyond ambition and her already formidable presence and steely persistence; it was an absoulute will to master whatever she encountered. Condoleezza Rice conquered the piano as a young girl and the complicated affairs after receiving her Ph.D.
As happens with those marked with ability and presence, the lords of the mountain reached down to anoint her as National Security Adviser to President Bush and now as his Secretary of State. After she became Secratary, even former critics lauded her for reinvigorating U.S. diplomacy, though they questioned whether she could sculpt a much needed grand strategy. She responded with one built around promoting democracry worldwide, without compromise, as a cure for everything from terrorism to economic downturns. But this strategy already hangs by hairs in Iraq and a tumultous Middle East.
Her reputation will turn on how she handles problems from hell like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea. Could even Bismarck or Kissinger call down lightning from the mountaintop to tame those vipers? To her great credit, she has assembled a first-rate staff and keeps traveling and talking. And how ell she talks, eyes sometimes blazing fiercely when she is attacked. Rice, 51, has less than three years to reverse the many mistakes of a shaky Administration and master the job designed by the lords of the mountatin for the history books.
(Leslie Gelb is president emeritus of the Council of Foreign Relations in New York City)
Africa's First Female President
(By Laura Bush)
ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF IS A MAGNIFICENT LEADER AND AN AMAZING woman. In January I attended her inauguration in Monrovia, where she delivered a moving and inspiring address that spoke directly to the women of Liberia, of Africa and of the world. From her service as a Liberian Cabinet Minister in 1970s, senior United Nations administrator in the 1990s and now Liberia's President, Johnson-Sirleaf, 67, has never stopped working for democracy for her country. When she opposed the military rule of Samule Doe, she was imprisoned before eventually fleeing Liberia. Her years in exile afforded her valuable international experience throuhg her work at the World Banl and the U.N.
As the first woman every elected President in Africa, Johnson-Sirleaf is an example of what can heppen when girls are educated. Educated women are better positioned to contribute to their economies and their countries. When women are equipped with knowledge, they can be better mothers. Now that Liberia's 14-year civil war was ended, we hope women will follow Johnso-Sirleaf's example and return to their home country and be a part of Liberia's economic future. Johnson-Sirleaf's courage are an insipiration to me and women around the world.
(Mrs. Bush is the First Lady of the United States.)
The Prime Minister Who Shook Up Old Japan
(By Ian Buruma)
The most intersting thing about Junichiro Koizumi is that he is interesting. Most Japanese Prime Ministers have been dull figures, more suited to backroom politicking than to courting public appeal. Koizumi, 64, has used the mass media, especially television, to project an image of a good-looking, straight talking maverick. Like all media stars, he has cultivated a style that people can recognize. Admirers call him Lionheart for his flambouyant hairdo as well as his promise to change how things are done. And he maybe the first Japanese politician to combine loves of Elvis Presley and Richard Wagner.
In fact, Koizumi, whose grandfather was a Cabinet minsiter, is hardly an outisder in the political establishment. He was groomed for thigh office from the moment he could talk. And even though he managed to get a bill passed to privatize the postal system, most of his promised reforms have yet to bear fruit. He has gone his own way and alienated other Asians by continuing to honor the Japanese war dead, including war criminals, at Yasukuri shrine. His main foreign policy initiative was to send troops Iraq despite Japan's pacifist constitution. When Koizumi steps down later this year, he will have left at least one mark that successors must contend with, he dragged politics into the age of celebrity. Whoever takes his place an no longer be a colorless hack chosen in a backroom party deal. He or she will have to br genuinely popular,for better or for worse.
(Ian Buruma is a professor at Bard College and the author of Inventing Japan: 1853-1964)
BILL AND MELINDA GATES
Giving Money and Hope to the World
(By Amanda Bower)
Every year malaria kills 1 million people -- most of them African children under age 5. When Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, 50 and his wife Melinda, 41, were looking for ways to give ways to give away their prodigious wealth, they assumed that such mounumental problems were being worked on. Instead, Melinda says, they found a "vacuum that does need to be stepped into."
Step they did: the Gates Foundation now provides more than a third of the world's entire malaria research funding, and it's paying off. The most effective drug to trat the disease, naturally occurring Artemisinin, is in devastating short supply. But last month Gates funded scientist announced that they had created the technology to manufacture Artemisinic acid synthetically. Within five years, the cost of a life saving supply is expected to drop from US$2.40 to 25cents. Lead researcher Jay Keasling says it would not have been possible wihtout a US$43 million Gates grant. "I had companies call me and say, 'This is great, but we can't give you any money. We can't make a profit on this.'" he says.
But even if millions are saved from malaria, there will be more diseases and more death. The Gateses most profound influence has been to change expectations. Their belief that every life should have equal value, backed by their US$ 29 billioon endowment in the foundation, has injected hope not only into global health but also into their other priorities; public education, public libraries and at risk families. The couple demands from grantees the same relentless focus on results expected of Microsoft employees and takles away the classic excuse for failure, not enough money. They have inspired others -- from medical students, who are entering global-health fields in unprecedented numbers, to governments, which are putting billions into Gates initiatives. Says Jimmy Cater: "This is the most important foundation in the world."
|posted by infraternam meam @ 12:27 AM