Foreign Policy magazine named 14 "brave" individuals who helped bring the pro-democracy Arab Spring movements to the Middle East and North Africa as the top global thinkers of 2011, AFP
Alaa al-Aswany, the dentist turned blacklisted novelist who rose to fame with his 2002 exploration of post-colonial Egyptian society "The Yacoubian Building," took the top spot.
He was followed by Wael Ghonim, the Google marketing executive who helped launch Egypt's revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, potential Egyptian presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei, Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat and Saudi women's rights activists Eman al-Najfan and Manal al-Sharif.
Nine world leaders also got a place on the influential publication's list, including US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan and former European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet got a nod as the "three wise men" who helped steer the world amid the financial crisis.
Yemen's Tawakkul Karman, a co-recipient of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, was acknowledged for having "improbably stepped to the forefront of this deeply patriarchal society, articulating a nonviolent spirit and democratic principles to define the revolution" in her country.
Foreign Policy also picked Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda party, and Khairat al-Shater, a deputy of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, in its top spot "for working to reconcile Islamism and democracy (we hope)."
Ai Weiwei, an artist who disappeared into custody for 81 days earlier this year, was praised for "standing up to the Chinese Communist Party," and put in the 18th spot on Foreign Policy's list.