4 Alternatives to Time's "Person of the Year"

By Megan Sehr on December 28, 2012

On Dec. 19, Time announced that President Barack Obama was the “Person of the Year” in 2012.  It’s not uncommon for Time to pick the winner of a presidential election, and this is the second occurrence that Time has named President Obama the Person of the Year.

However, 2012 was a year of major social and political shifts around the world.  Time’s finalists for Person of the Year included Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban for championing girls’ education; Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s new president with the potential to shape Egypt’s democracy and change the direction of the Middle East; and Fabiola Gianotti, a lead researcher on the Higgs Boson and a major contributor to the world’s scientific understanding.

Time’s Person of the Year, President Barack Obama. Photograph by ProgressOhio at Flickr.com

Time magazine explained that America is “…in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes” and cited Obama as “…the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America.”

In a year of incredible change, Time’s pick was not only safe – it was boring.  This year there were some amazing advocates and drivers of change.  Some people risked their lives to fight for societal change; some discovered scientific and technological breakthroughs; and some were involved in new cultural phenomenon.

In response to Time’s Person of the Year, I created a list of alternative choices for the award.  Two of the individuals were Time’s runner-ups.

  1. Malala Yousafzai – Malala is my first pick for Person of the Year.  Malala is only 15 years old, but she is a champion of education rights for Pakistani girls.  Malala was a blogger for the BBC, discussing her experience under Taliban rule.  On Oct. 9, a Taliban assassin shot Malala in the head as she was climbing onto a school bus.  The assassin failed to kill Malala, and her message has reached around the world.  In Pakistan, she was a spokesperson for girls’ education; around the world, she has become a symbol for empowering women and girls across the developing world.  Even as she recovers in England, she speaks with girls in Pakistan and tells them not to give up their dreams.
  2. Mohamed Morsi – Morsi is the newly elected of president of a deeply divided and chaotic Egypt.  Egypt currently faces high unemployment and a weak economy, and the country has been in turmoil since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago.  Morsi is a controversial figure.  On one hand, he managed to negotiate a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel and he secured a badly needed loan from the IMF; on the other hand, many Egyptian citizens feel that Morsi and his Islamist backing are a threat to the concept of a liberal Egyptian society.  Morsi is the leader of the most populated Arab nation, and his actions have the potential to shape Egypt and the Middle East in crucial ways.  His government is essentially an experiment in the democratization of the Arab world.
  3. Fawzia Koofi – Koofi is another woman fighting for equality in a region of the world where advocating equality for women can be deadly.  Koofi has started to campaign for the Afghan presidential elections in 2014.  The mother of two daughters, she is already a lawmaker in the Afghanistan parliament.  The Taliban has already targeted her for assassination, and her bid for the presidency will make her more of a target as U.S. troops draw out of Afghanistan in 2014.  Koofi is one of a handful of women politicians in Afghanistan working to fight a traditionally patriarchal system by advocating things like education and better healthcare for women.
  4. Psy – Initially, it seems strange to put Psy on the list for Person of the Year.  Yet, Psy has managed to become a cultural phenomenon in his country and around the world.  Even if he does not remain a popular or lasting artist, his song “Gangnam Style” was a societal commentary in South Korea (something unusual for a K-Pop artist).  His song then swept the globe, becoming the most watched YouTube video ever.  Psy is the first Korean artist to gain mainstream success in the West, and he could be ushering in an age of popular artists from another region of the world.
Megan Sehr is a sophomore at the University of Denver, and she is majoring in International Studies and Journalism Studies with minors in History and Hebrew. She wants to go into international journalism, and is interested in Middle Eastern politics and culture. She loves writing, reading, poetry, Mad Men, and good discussions.

Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

More Uloop Politics Articles


35 Photos
Green Leaf RockVue
49 Photos
Hudson Grove Collection West
30 Photos
One Observatory Park
65 Photos
Kent Place Residences
46 Photos
Hudson Grove Collection East
See all DU Housing Listings


Receive recent DU news and classifieds on your Facebook Feed. Click the button below and then click "Like"


Back to Top

Log In

or Sign Up
Post FREE Listings
Student Start Here
Post Jobs for Students
Employers Start Here
Housing Providers
Post Available Housing
Housing Start Here

Enter College Name to See Local Results

Log In

Contact Us

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.
By clicking Get Started or Sign In you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format