Newsmakers of 2019

Activists, politicians, changemakers, entertainers...we mention here are a few luminaries who have created history and become forerunners of change.

Published - December 23, 2019 02:17 pm IST

Sundar Pichai

He joined Google in 2004 and became the CEO in 2015, the year Google’s founders announced the creation of Alphabet. As luck would have it, this year he went up higher to become the CEO of both companies.

Greta Thunberg

Her #FridaysforFuture campaign brought her to limelight last year. This year, she lamblasted the people in power at the UN Climate Conference for throwing the responsibilty on young people to find answers for climate change.

Sanna Marin

Sanna Marin, 34, was sworn in as Finland’s Prime Minister on December 10. She is the world’s youngest prime minister. The new government comprises 12 women and seven men. Marin takes up leadership at a volatile, polarised time in Finnish politics.

Jacinda Ardern

Immediately after the Christchurch attack, the New Zealand prime minister made her stand known. She showed solidarity with the victims — 50 muslims killed in two mosques. "They are us," she said, summing up the situation.

Richard Powers

His 12th book, The Overstory , a sprawling epic about the wonderful life and alarming death of trees, has won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The book reminds us once again how we owe our life to trees as they take on the role of massive air purifiers and soil conditioners and so making human civilisation possible.

Peggy Whitson

She received the 2019 Women in Space Science award. A trailblazer with an account of 665 days in space, holding the space endurance record in the U. S. and eighth on the all-time space endurance list. She was the first woman astronaut to hold NASA’s chief astronaut position and has completed a total of 10 spacewalks over the course of her career, and commanded the International Space Station twice.

Abiy Ahmed Ali

The Ethiopian Prime Minister won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize 2019 for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation. His peace deal with Eritrea ended a 20-year military stalemate following their 1998-2000 border war. He has also been involved in peace processes in other African countries.

A. Revathy

A transgender writer and activist, she is now featured on a banner at the Butler’s Library, Columbia University, New York City, the U.S. along with eight other names — Maya Angelou, Gloria E Anzaldúa, Diana Chang, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange and Leslie Mormon Silko. This is the outcome of a three decade long fight to set right the lack of inclusivity on the stone façade of the library that features only male writers. Revathi’s books include Unarvum Uruvamum (Feelings of the Entire Body) and The Truth about Me: A Hijra Life Story , an English translation.

Pandit Jasraj

A Minor Planet 2006 VP32 discovered on November 11, 2006A has been named after Pandit Jasraj. This honour was bestowed on him by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Panditjasraj traverses the cosmos between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Pandit Jasraj is now the first Indian musician to join the galaxy of immortal composers like Mozart, Beethoven and Tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

Gita Gopinath

Mysore-born Gita Gopinath joined International Monetary Fund as its Chief Economist, becoming the first woman to occupy the top IMF post. She is the second Indian after former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan to hold the position.

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