The 16-year-old climate activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee became the youngest person in history to ever receive the honor. Thunberg’s moves to raise awareness around the need to curb carbon emissions include her solo school-day strike outside of Swedish parliament in 2018 and her voyage across the Atlantic in a carbon-neutral boat to give a powerful speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in 2019.
When the magazine decided to highlight journalists who’ve faced persecution and even death for their reporting, they chose to create four different covers to pay homage to the subjects. First, the late Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally murdered after becoming a target for being critical of the Saudi Arabian government; the Capital Gazette staff, who experienced a mass shooting in their Annapolis, Maryland, newsroom that resulted in the death of five employees; Philippine news outlet Rappler‘s co-founder Maria Ressa, who has relentlessly reported on the drug war of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte; and Reuters‘ Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were both jailed in Myanmar for reporting on the Rohingya crisis.
The Silence Breakers
The rise of #MeToo landed these “voices that launched a movement” on the cover: actress Ashley Judd, who was the first to speak on the record about Harvey Weinstein‘s inappropriate behavior; strawberry picker Isabel Pascual (pseudonym), who shared her story about being sexually harassed and threatened on the job; lobbyist Adama Iwu, who organized more than 140 women to expose sexual harassment within the California government; former Uber software engineer Susan Fowler, who helped change the way Silicon Valley treats sexual harassment claims within its workforce; and singer Taylor Swift, who won her case against a former DJ who grabbed her inappropriately at a meet and greet in 2013.
Germany’s Chancellor, who commands the world’s fourth-largest economy, was heralded as Europe’s most powerful leader as she took the lead on navigating Europe’s debt and refugee crises.
The Ebola Fighters
On the heels of his first term as president, Obama earned his spot in the oval office again and kicked off his second term with a cover story that outlined what he had achieved during his first term and what he planned to do next. This was Obama’s second time as Person of the Year: his first was the year he became president, 2008.
This year marked the rise of several major protests that went down around the globe, including the Arab Spring across many of the Islamic parts of the world, the Occupy Movement across the U.S. and uprisings in Spain, Greece and other European countries.
Six years after launching one of the most powerful social media platforms in the world, Zuckerberg had drastically changed how people interacted with each other through one central source: Facebook.
The chairman of the Federal Reserve was honored after guiding the U.S. economy throughout the 2008 financial crisis.
It may not have been a surprise to many when the then-president-elect graced the cover as the first African-American president of the United States.
During this time, the then-president of Russia was thought to be ending his role as president to start his reign as prime minister under then-President Dmitry Medvedev.
This was the year the outlet decided to celebrate all of the creators who’ve fed the World Wide Web with funny memes, inspiring films and thought-provoking blog posts to make the Internet what it is was then (and still is today).
The Good Samaritan
U2 frontman Bono and Bill and Melina Gates were applauded for their philanthropic work across the globe, their missions to help end poverty and generous monetary contributions made to inspire and improve the quality of life for all mankind.
George W. Bush
The former president landed his second cover after defeating Democrat John Kerry to become re-elected as president.
The American Soldier
Risking their lives to protect and serve the U.S. during the Iraq War, TIME shined a light on the lives of American G.I.s.
Sherron Watkins of Enron, Coleen Rowley of the FBI and Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom shared the title as a result of their brave decisions to speak out against corrupt activity that took place at their respective institutions.
The then-mayor of New York City held the important title after the September 11th attacks, when he was deemed “The Mayor of the World” for his role in helping reunite the city to show everyone that New Yorkers were going to bounce back.
George W. Bush
The 43rd president of the U.S. was known as the governor of Texas and the eldest son of former President George H.W. Bush before winning the presidency his first time, by a very small margin, against then-Vice President Al Gore.
The founder of Amazon.com was noted for changing the way millions shopped online after launching the thriving ecommerce site.
Bill Clinton & Ken Starr
The cover was shared by the former president, who was embroiled in controversy for what’s now known as the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and Starr, the then-independent counsel who investigated Clinton and published the Starr Report, which led to the 42nd president’s impeachment.
The then-chairman and CEO of Intel was credited as “the person most responsible for the amazing growth in the power and innovative potential of microchips” by the magazine.
The doctor and researcher helped advance research and potential treatments for thousands of AIDs sufferers, and was also the recipient of a Presidential Medial in 2001.
The then-Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives shook up politics when he ended the four-decade-long Democratic majority that had led the House until he came along.