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The 100 Most Influential People

The Sum of its Parts

In our annual Time 100 issue, we tell 100 stories of individual influence. But taken together, these stories are an anthem to interaction, the convergence that occurs when you harmonize a good idea.

The technology that connects us also connects our worlds, of art and science and business and politics. So when we were debating whom to approach to write for this issue, we looked for people who could speak to their subject's influence in all its dimensions. Entrepreneur Elon Musk writes about Kanye West's "long game" as the music superstar moves into the worlds of fashion, design and philanthropy. Apple CEO Tim Cook is running the most valuable company on earth--but Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis writes about how Cook has also used his position to elevate issues from privacy to the environment to LGBT rights. Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson writes of actor Emma Watson's work promoting gender equality as a U.N. Women goodwill ambassador.

For the third straight year, education activist Malala Yousafzai, 17, is the youngest person on the list. Two years ago Chelsea Clinton wrote about her; this year the tribute comes from Mezon Almellehan, a Syrian refugee in Jordan who was inspired by Malala to urge girls in her refugee camp to focus on going to school. "Education," Mezon writes, " is the only way to regain our spirit and control over our lives." The oldest person on the list is Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, who at 88 finds himself the steward of the Arab world's youngest democracy.

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