Why a group of young Italians dares to challenge the distinguished magazine Foreign Policy in the annual list of global thinkers? There are many reasons to do that.

First, because Foreign Policy is a great magazine, and it’s challenge for us – as it has been for last year’s list – to select 100 global personalities different than the ones selected by them. And it has been delightful to notice that some of our 2009 choices (Sergei Brin and Larry Page, Shai Agassi, Jeff Bezos, Kishore Mahbubani, Nandan Nilekani, Ahmet Davutoglu, Mohamed El Baradei, James Fowler) are in the 2010 Foreign Policy list.

Second, we want to mark a difference by focusing mostly on emerging thinkers and entrepreneurs rather than on the “Warren Buffett” model of mainstream ones. As the recent history of international politics shows, the so-called emerging powers are now “emerged powers”. This doesn’t apply only to the BRIC countries, but also to the powers of the Internet and innovation. Consider Google, Facebook, Baidu, Zynga and others. Their impact needs to be acknowledged. Our list has been published in Italian on 13 december. After that, Time chose Mark Zuckerberg as the person of the year (unfortunately, they don’t mention Sheryl Sandberg).

Third, we made this list because we want to show something to our country, endlessly trapped in the discussion “I love Berlusconi / I hate him, he has to resign”. There are more things in heaven and earth. For example: Italy, too, can produce global thinkers (real, like Arduino’s Massimo Banzi, or “ironic” ones, as it happens in our list). Italy is not doomed, but we believe that only a networked Italy will be able to overcome these difficult times and start a new era of economic growth. We should be optimists, after all: we can catch global trends from Italy, we can attract foreign investments if politics starts considering it a top priority (this hasn’t happened so far, but we are working to change it). We can build consistent and useful relationships with other countries, based on respect and on mutual interest. The pursuit of curiosity and a smart use of the web can give us the power to imagine a different country. Of course, we look forward to welcoming all these extraordinary people to Italy. We will try to contact them during the next months, but if you are one of them, or if you are simply curious about our work, please write us at segreteria@lospaziodellapolitica.com

1)   Mark Zuckerberg & Sheryl Sandberg

Who – Founder and COO of Facebook.

Nationality – American

Why: the former because he invented Facebook, the network of our thinking. The latter because she works to make profits with it

2)   Gita Gopinath

Who – Professor of Economics at Harvard University

Nationality – Indian

Why: because of her studies on sovereign wealth funds and on the Greek case. Because she has been the first Indian woman to be appointed “tenure professor” at the most famous Department of Economics in the world

3)   The octopus Paul

Who: prophet

Nationality – Italian-German, in memoriam

Why – because all the world economists would love to have its ability in predicting the future

4)   Julian Assange

Who: founder of Wikileaks

Nationality – Australian (stateless soon?)

Why – because he turned upside down the world of diplomacy (and not only that)

5)   Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva

Who – former President of Brazil

Nationality – Brasilian

Why – because the Brazilian miracle will be always identified with him

6)   Wen Jiabao

Who Premier of the People Republic of China

Nationality – Chinese

Why – because his “Adam Smith with Chinese characteristics” is more quoted then Adam Smith himself by Kirkcaldy

7)   Hal Varian

Who: Chief Economist of Google (USA)

Nationality: American

Why – because he said that statisticians will be the global thinkers of the next decade

08)   Cristopher Bayly

Who – Historian, Professor of Imperial and Naval History at Cambridge University

Nationality – British

Why – because Cambridge has overcome Harvard in the rank of the world’s best Universities and because when he was appointed Sir he wanted to share this honour with non-Western countries, which he has always studied

9)   Yadin Kaufmann & Saed Nashef

Who: Venture capitalists

Nationality: Israeli and Palestinian

Why: because with the Middle East Venture Capital Fund they are investing 50 million dollars in Ramallah and in West Bank to finance projects linked to the development of start-up technologies

10)                 The giant panda Tai Shan

Who: animal threatened with extinction

Nationality: Chinese

Why: because its travel back to China from Washington was a symbol of our age: among tensions and frictions the world craves for harmony and a very “soft” power

11)                 Emilie Turunen

Who: Euro-MP

Nationality: Danish

Why: for the important proposal on young people’s unemployment and internships that she made ratified by the European Parliament. Because she showed that it is possible to be MP at 26 without any rhetoric but showing pragmatism and competence

12)                 Shigeru Miyamoto

Who: General Director of the Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development and inventor of Supermario Bros.

Nationality: Japanese

Why: because Japan is still struggling to find a decent ruling class. Why not to try with him?

13)                 Steven Hilton & Rachel Whetstone

Who: Strategic Director of David Cameron; Vice President of Google Communication and Public Affairs

Nationality: British

Why: because they are a real 21st century couple: he is David Cameron’s strategic consultant – one of the inventors of the Big Society – while she is one of the public faces of Google

14)                 Pratap Bhanu Metha

Who: Political Philosopher, Director of CPR India and Editorialist of the Indian Express

Nationality: Indian

Why: because he is one of the best voices of the political dynamics of globalization (and of the Indian rise)

15)                 Massimo Banzi

Who: Founder of Arduino

Nationality: Italian

Why: because Arduino is one of the few projects made in Italy that boasts big success all over the world. Because at MIT there are courses focused on this open-source hardware and on its principles of sharing, playing and testing

16)                 Leslie Chang

Who: Writer

Nationality: Chinese-American

Why: for the great success of Factory Girls, the book that casts light on the phenomenon of Chinese migration in the factories from a female point of view

17)                 The Italian team at SU (Chiara Giovenzana, Eric Ezechieli, Luca Escoffier, Chiara Turelli, Valentina Margaria, Diva Tommei, Francesco Galietti)

Who: students who got in the Singularity University

Nationality: Italian

Why: because they are the national team that can make us forget Italy in South Africa

18)                 Celestine Monga

Who: Economist, Advisor of Justin Yifu Lin at the World Bank

Nationality: Cameroon

Why: because his studies and his book help imagining a different Africa, free from rhetoric

19)                 Azeem Ibrahim

Who: Businessman, Consultant and Scholar

Nationality: Scottish

Why: because of his enduring business and philanthropic activity and because he put our quotation of the 2009 top 100  in his cv

20)                 Jonathan Ive

Who: Designer and Senior Vice President of the Apple Industrial Design Group

Nationality: British

Why: because through the design of the Apple’s products he conquered the world

21)                 Andres Iniesta

Who: Football player

Nationality: Spanish

Why: because in a time of economic and social difficulties he made millions of Spanish people dream, making them touch the sky for one night, thanks to the wisdom of his right foot

22)                 Trey Parker & Matt Stone

Who: creators of South Park

Nationality: American

Why: because the tragedies of politics need someone who can make fun of it

23)                 Arianna Huffington

Who: Founder of the Huffington Post

Nationality: American

Why: because in five years the Huffington Post will be more worthy than the Wall Street Journal

24)                 Chris Hughes

Who: Co-founder of Facebook, former chief of the Obama online campaign

Nationality: American

Why: because he invented Jumo, the social network of no-profit

25)                 Linda Rottenberg


Who: Founder of Endeavor

Nationality: American

Why: because she supports business development in the emerging countries

26)                 Zadie Smith

Who: Writer

Nationality: British

Why: for her review of the movie by 50 Cent in“Changing my mind”

27)                 Alex Bogusky

Who: guru of advertising

Nationality: American

Why: because after a life spent gathering successes in the world of advertising he decided to fight side by side with us, the consumers

28)                 Peter Mandelson

Who: Politician, former European Commissioner

Nationality: British

Why: because with the end of the “Blair/Brown” era the charming “prince of the darkness / Third Man” is ready to become an international consultant

29)                 Vladislav Surkov

Who – Vice-Chief of the Putin staff

Nationality – Russian

Why: because he is considered a key ideologue of the Russian model – starting from the idea of“sovereign democracy”

30)                 Montek Singh Ahluwalia


Who: Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission

Nationality: Indian

Why: because if in the next years ten millions of Indians will have more streets and infrastructures it will be basically because of him.

31)                 Mugo Kibati

Who: General Director of the Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat

Nationality: Kenyan

Why: because he is a key figure in african economic development, the next big global adventure

32)                 Andrew Rubin


Who: Co-Founder and former CEO of Android, Vice-President Engineering of Google

Nationality: American

Why: because of the success of Android

33)                 Helen Zille


Who: first, Mayor of Cape Town now President of the Province

Nationality: South African

Why: because she represented a worldwide model of mayor

34) David Singh Grewal

Who: political philosopher

Nationality: American – Indian

Why – for being nominated Professor at Yale Law School, a great acknowledgment for his studies on network power

35) Mark Pincus

Who – CEO of Zynga

Nationality: American

Why: because he is the entrepreneurial prophet of online gaming

36) Fu Ying

Who – deputy minister of Foreign Affairs

Nationality: Chinese

Why – because she is one of the new faces of Chinese diplomacy

37) Robin Li

Who – CEO of Baidu

Nationality – Chinese

Why – Because Baidu is one of the key players of innovation with  Chinese characteristics

38) Geert Wilders

Who – leader of the Party of Freedom

Nationality – Dutch

Why – Because in Europe the anti-Islamic, anti-immigrants and populist right is rising. Wilders is the symbol of this wind

39) Shakira

Who – singer

Nationality – Colombia

Why – Because she made all the world sing “Waka Waka”

40) Josè Mourinho


Who – coach of Real Madrid

Nationality – Portugal

Why – Because, in the year of Europe’s deep crisis, he made the dream of a European Inter real

41) Viviane Reding


Who – European commissioner

Nationality – Luxembourg

Why –For her defense of one of the key principles of the European Union against the policies of Sarkozy

42) Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons)


Who – Caltech theoretical physicist

Nationality – American

Why – because, thanks to him, nerdom is a religion

43) Naveen Selvadurai


Who – founder of Foursquare

Nationality – Indian-American

Why – because, thanks to him, we always know where we are

44) JJ Abrams


Who – creator of TV series

Nationality – American

Why – because it’s time to move on, but we miss LOST

45) Lee Kwan Yew


Who – mentor leader of Singapore

Nationality – Singapore

Why – For the economic and civil miracle of Singapore, and because he has been considered the smartest man of Asia

46) Tarak Ben Ammar


Who – tycoon, producer

Nationality – Tunisia

Why – From Goldman Sachs to Ghadafi, he is the real face of Berlusconi’s Mediterranean geopolitics

47) Josè Manuel Felix Ribeiro


Who – economist

Nationality – Portugal

Why – Because we need strategic thinking about the future, and he is better than Attali

48) Bruno Giussani


Who – director of TED Europe

Nationality – Swiss

Why – Because Europe needs TED’s ideas

49) Aaron Sorkin


Who – screenwriter

Nationality – American

Why – With The West Wing he foresaw the increasing relevance of privacy and Obama’s election. Now with The Social Network the tells us the story of the n. 1

50) Romano Prodi


Who – university professor

Nationality – Italian

Why – The “Italian Mortadella” has become a professor and a consultant, even in China. He could be the next UN secretary (or the next President of Italy)

51) Vikram Akula


Who – founder of SKS Microfinance

Nationality – Indo-american

Why – He founded the first micro-credit company listed on the Stock Exchange

52) Dilma Rousseff


Who – President of Brazil

Nationality – Brazilian

Why – If conquering Planalto was a cakewalk, giving Brazilians “Order and Progress” will be a different story – but she seems to be skilled

53) Gavriel Salvendy


Who – Engineer

Nationality – Hungarian-Israeli-American

Why – With his ideas, he is revolutionizing the productivity of Chinese manufacturing, and he might become the Henry Ford of the twenty-first Century

54) B.J. Fogg


Who – Professor at Stanford University

Nationality – American

Why – For his role in the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford, and in Facebook studies.

55) Sebastian Pinera


Who – President of Chile

Nationality – Chilean

Why – Through the 33 trapped miners’ story he caught worldwide attention, and successfully demonstrated that South America has now changed

56) Glenn Beck


Who – Radio and television host

Nationality – American

Why – As a real “political animal”, he bombed America with his tirades, thus contributing to the success of the Tea Party

57) Andrew Wylie


Who – literary agent

Nationality – American

Why – Because “the jackal” will be relevant even in the world of digital publishing

58) Irene Tinagli

Who – Economist and opinion-maker

Nationality – Italian

Why – In her researches, she focuses on cities as talents’ attractors and on the economic role of creativity; she also works on the issue of youth (un)employment

59) Tom Szaky


Who – TerraCycle founder

Nationality – American

Why – For the social network dedicated to the recycling of waste. He can be considered a sort of “Zuckerberg of rubbish”

60) Christoph Blocher


Who – politician and entrepreneur

Nationality – Swiss

Why – He is the leader of rightist UDC, and he has created the most shocking electoral campaigns throughout Europe

61) Jane Mc Gonigal


Who – videogamer and videogame designer

Nationality – American

Why – For her speech at TED on how videogames can save the world

62) Emma Rothschild


Who – historian

Nationality – British

Why – because we can be fan of her “The Inner Life of Empires” on Facebook

63) Tim Wu


Who – professor at Columbia University

Nationality – American

Why – For his new book on information empires

64) Walter Russell Mead


Who – historian and fellow of CFR

Nationality – American

Why – Because an amazing writer of history can become an outstanding blogger

65) Alborosie


Who – musician

Nationality – Italian

Why – for his success in Jamaica

66) Roberto Mangabeira Unger


Who – professor at Harvard Law School

Nationality – Brazilian

Why – because, after being Lula’s “minister of the future”, he is now a strategic consultant of the Mexican government

67) Christopher Niemann


Who – artist

Nationality – German

Why – For his drawings in “20 things I learned about browsers and the web”

68) Zhengrong Shi


Who – founder, chairman and CEO of Suntech Power

Nationality – Chinese

Why – For his entrepreneurial skills that made Suntech the world leader in the field of photovoltaic modules.

69) Evan Osnos


Who – journalist, reporter based in Beijing

Nationality – American

Why – For his accounts about contemporary China on The New Yorker

70) Hans-Ulrich Obrist


Who is – curator and critic

Nationality – Swiss

Motivation – because he has raised the profession of the curator to a level of ‘absolute curiosity’, and also because he re-invented interview as a new literary genre/work of art

71) Tom Chatfield


Who – art and books editor for Prospect Magazine

Nationality – English

Why – video games are more serious than you think, and his book “Fun Inc.” proves it

72) Sarah Lacy


Who – technology journalist and author

Nationality – American

Why – She is the queen of Silicon Valley gossip, she knows everything about everybody

73) JR


Who –  street artist and photographer

Nationality – French

Why – because he won the TED prize 2011, thanks to his outstanding works of urban transformation

74) Marcelo Ebrard


Who – Head of Government of the Federal District (Mayor of Mexico City)

Nationality – Mexican

Why – For his environmental and innovative public policy in one of the most complicated metropolis of the world.

75) Andrus Ansip


Who – Prime Minister of Estonia

Nationality – Estonian

Why – because Estonia’s GDP grows.

76) Nguyen Tan Dung


Who – Prime Minister of Vietnam

Nationality – Vietnamese

Why – Because Vietnam’s GDP grows as well

77) Lady Gaga


Who  – singer, celebrity

Nationality – American

Why – for her interviews, her activism in civil rights and, last but not least, her success on Facebook

78) Gamal Mubarak


Who – member of the General Secretariat of the National Democratic Party

Nationality – Egyptian

Why – because probably he, educated in ‘Western’ finance schools and in American and London banks, will lead Egypt in the transition after his father.

79) Andreas Voßkuhle


Who – president of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany

Nationality – German

Why – because he is the youngest president of the German Federal Constitutional Court, and he will make on important decision on the future of the European Union.

80) Michael Morhaime


Who – co-founder and president of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.

Nationality – American

Why – for virtual worlds (World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2) and for his role in the metal band formed by Blizzard employees

81) Leonid Fedun


Who – vice-president of LUKoil and owner of the football club Spartak Moscow

Nationality – Russian

Why – because we like an oil tycoon who is both a philosopher and a football enthusiast

82) Katynka Barysch


Who – deputy director of the Center for European Reform (CER)

Nationality – Russian

Why – for her analysis on strategic relationships between the European Union, Turkey and Russia.

83) Ed Milliband


Who – Leader of the Labour Party

Nationality – English

Why – for giving new political life to the classic theme of the conflict between brothers

84) Roberto D’Agostino


Who – founder of Dagospia

Nationality – Italian

Why – because Rome is a global city of gossip and he and Umberto Pizzi have photographed it at best.

85) André Sapir


Who – Economist

Nationality – Belgian

Why – because his studies on growth and innovation are relevant for the future of the European Union.

86) Tyler Brûlé


Who – founder of Monocle

Nationality – Canadian

Why – because his publication is “the” global magazine of innovation.

87) Oscar Farinetti


Who – founder of Eataly

Nationality – Italian

Why – because he has opened a new commercial frontier for a potential global food power

88) Alex Giordano & Mirko Pallera


Who – founders of Ninja Marketing

Nationality – Italian

Why – Global trendsetters are not exclusively settled in New York or London, but also between Milan and Cava de’ Tirreni.

89) Megan McArdle


Who – business and economics editor for The Atlantic

Nationality – American

Why – for her fantastic videos with Daniel Drezner on Bloggingheads.tv

90) The clown Tiritica


Who – clown

Nationality – Brazilian

Why – because he was the most voted candidate at the recent Brazilian elections

91) Hermann Van Rompuy


Who – President of the European Council

Nationality – Belgian

Why – Although almost nobody knows who he is him, but his patient work of mediation is useful in these difficult financial times

92) Joe Hisaishi


Who – composer

Nationality – Japanese

Why – Because Japan needs to be ruled by game designers and by him, composer of soundtracks of Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece. Japan can rise again only with Totoro and the Catbus

93) Hatsune Miku


Who – 3D hologram

Nationality – Japanese

Why – “she” does not exist, however, Japanese otakus love her

94) Choon Fong Shih


Who – engineer and chairman of King Abdullah University of Science and Tecnology (KAUST)

Nationality – Singaporean

Why – because the Saudis, betting on one of the most well-known mechanical engineer for the direction of the KAUST, have shown great farsightedness

95) Ma Huateng


Who – CEO of Tencent Holdings

Nationality – Chinese

Why – Because he is the co-founder of the third Internet company of the world, also leader in China’s online gaming market

96) Dietrich Mateschitz


Who – co-owner of Red Bull

Nationality – Austrian

Why – Because after revolutionizing the soft-drinks market, he has changed completely the concept of sport marketing. The victory of the Formula 1 Championship is just one party of the story

97) Vlade Divac


Who – former professional basketball player

Nationality – Serbian

Why – Because “Once Brothers” is one of the most beautiful and moving stories of reconciliation in the Balkans

98) Diego Piacentini

Who is – Senior Vice-president of Amazon

Nationality – Italian

Why – thanks to the opening of Amazon.it, we will be able to order more books for the rankings of the next years

99) Arikia Millikan

Who is – Web geek

Nationality – American

Why – for her love declaration to the Google Implant project

100) Cesare Geronzi


Who is – chairman of Generali

Nationality – Italian

Why – It’s true, Facebook rises, the world accelerates and runs, Google, Lula, Chinese ambassadors, Indian economists, global networks, but in the end Geronzi rules


(edited by Alessandro Aresu, Elena Premoli, Daria Santucci, Moris Gasparri, Riccardo Vurchio)

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