US President Barack Obama has been named the ‘2012 Person of the Year’ by Time magazine, which said the re-elected commander-in-chief is the “symbol” and “architect” of a culturally and demographically changing America.
The magazine also shortlisted Pakistani girls’ education rights activist Malala Yousafzai, 15, for the title.
“For finding and forging a new majority, for turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union, Barack Obama is TIME’s 2012 Person of the Year,” the publication’s editors said in explaining their choice for the annual honour.
This is the second time that Obama will feature on Time’s cover as Person of the Year.
He was given the title in 2008 and becomes only the 13th person in the publication’s 85-year old history of naming ’person of the year’ to be chosen more than once as the year’s most influential newsmaker.
Among others shortlisted were Malala, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Yousafzai, recuperating in Britain after being shot in the head by Taliban militants who opposed her fearless efforts to fight for the education rights of Pakistani girls, has “become perhaps the world’s most admired children’s—rights advocate”.
“In trying, and failing, to kill Malala, the Taliban appear to have made a crucial mistake. They wanted to silence her. Instead, they amplified her voice. Since October her message has been heard around the world, from cramped classrooms where girls scratch out lessons in the dirt to the halls of the UN and national governments and NGOs, where legions of activists argue ever more vehemently that the key to raising living standards throughout the developing world is the empowerment of women and girls,” Time said.
Fabiola Gianotti, a head scientist at CERN was also shortlisted for the annual recognition by Time that called the Higgs Boson experiment as one of “science’s greatest achievements“.
Time said Obama has a slew of “overwhelming challenges” waiting for him as he enters his second term at the White House.
Deadlocked fiscal—cliff talks, years of high unemployment and political and economic unrest in places Syria, Egypt and Europe will test Obama’s second-term presidency.
However, as America undergoes significant cultural and demographic changes, as was evident by the voting turnout in the November Presidential elections, Time said “Obama is the 21st century version of this new American”.