10 Most Influential Activists Of The Decade

Call them what you will: "Whistleblowers," "radicals," "heroes," "libertarians," "extremists," or "traitors," but despite the mixed bag of labels we seek to use to define them, their messages are alwa

Call them what you will: "Whistleblowers," "radicals," "heroes," "libertarians," "extremists," or "traitors," but despite the mixed bag of labels we seek to use to define them, their messages are always the same: action. Activists are the people on the front line putting their beliefs ahead of personal safety, security or financial gain. They are the people who are unafraid to stand-up for what they believe is right and just and refuse to remain silent in the face of confrontation. For many of us, the price to pay for living such a life on the front lines of justice is just too high. But for these individuals the reward of being heard and affecting change outweighs the life-changing risks.

Without activists for education, environment, peace and human rights, massive corporations and companies and government entities that often take the law into their own hands would continue unchecked. Without the voices brave enough to question and confront the issues of our day, we could well be living in a very different world. Below is a list of ten of some of the more important activists of the last ten years, whether we stand for or against them they are making a difference and opening our perceptions and understandings of the political landscape around us.

10 Malala Yousafzai - 16

9 Edward Snowden - 30

8 Adam Kokesh - 32

7 Emmanuel Jal - 33

6 Severn Cullis-Suzuki - 34

5 Aksana Panova - 39

4 Julian Assange - 42

3 Gary Yourofsky - 43

2 Abdullah Ocalan - 66

1 Navanethem Pillay - 73

In 2008, Pillay took up the post of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. A South African national, Pillay has dedicated a lifetime to activism beginning as the first non-white woman to open a law practice in her home town. Later, she was a judge of the High Court of South Africa. Over the 28 year career as a lawyer, she defended anti-apartheid activists and helped bring to light the use of torture and deplorable conditions for political detainees. For eight years she served as a judge with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, as elected by the UN General Assembly. In this role, Pillay helped establish that rape and sexual assault be determined acts of genocide. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her dedication to women's and human rights. In 2012 she was given a second two-year term in her current UN position, and in the same year she signed a document in support of gender identity and equality. She has voiced support for a gay rights resolution in the UN Human Rights Council, which was approved in 2011.



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10 Most Influential Activists Of The Decade