Introducing the TIME 100: The World’s Most Influential People

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TIME unveiled the 2011 edition of the 100 Most Influential People in the World today and there are more than a few on the list who appear in stories on this blog. Before you get too riled up about the presence of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of a murderous dictator, Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah, or even Ahmed Shuja Pasha, chief of Pakistan’s shadowy ISI, please bear in mind that being placed on the TIME 100 is not a conferral of prestige — rather, it is a very non-scientific estimation of influence. Still, figures like Aruna RoyFathi Terbil, and Bineta Diop merit unreserved applause and respect. After the jump, an international sampling of the TIME 100.

Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who turned into one of the champions of Egypt’s revolution. Written by Mohamed ElBaradei, who himself was once considered a leading figure for democracy in the country.

Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, written by French finance minister Christine Lagarde

Xi Jinping, likely the next President of China, written by our Fareed Zakaria

Dilma Rousseff, recently elected President of Brazil, written by former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet

David Cameron, British Prime Minister, written by the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger

Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, written by the novelist Germaine Greer

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s celebrated beacon of democracy, written by Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan

Ai Weiwei, detained Chinese artist-activist, written by the former U.S. ambassador in Beijing, Jon Huntsman