The Korea Herald


Moon Jae-in makes Foreign Policy’s list of 100 global thinkers for two consecutive years

By Kim Arin

Published : Jan. 23, 2019 - 14:37

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President Moon Jae-in has been named in Foreign Policy’s list of Top 100 Global Thinkers for the second year running.

The 100 nominees were split into 10 groups, with Moon grouped under readers’ choice – a category chosen through online readers’ poll.

(Foreign Policy) (Foreign Policy)

The magazine’s blurb on Moon said “despite repeated setbacks and deadlock,” the South Korean president “relentlessly pushed negotiations forward,” “forg(ing) an opening between the West and North Korea was one of the world’s defining diplomatic achievements of 2018” and “helping to guide the peninsula toward a new era of peace.”

This marks Moon’s second appearance on the list. Last year, he was cited for “trying to rebuild decent democratic leadership in South Korea.” 

Foreign Policy, highlighting the then-first-year-president Moon as “a unifying figure in a politically scarred country” and a “stark contrast to (his predecessor) Park’s secretiveness, corruption, and creeping authoritarianism,” said that his “handling of North Korea” in particular is what had “put him in the spotlight.” “When it comes to talking with Kim Jong-un, Moon certainly knows more about dealing with a dictatorship than his counterpart in the United States (Donald Trump),” the piece read.

(Foreign Policy) (Foreign Policy)
(Foreign Policy) (Foreign Policy)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also made the list in the “40 and under” category, spotlighting his accomplishment of fulfilling “a personal meeting with a US president” in the June summit in Singapore, which the magazine said “raised the promise of North Korea’s economic development” while “cost(ing) Kim little in return.”

As this year marks the celebrated list’s 10th anniversary, it included a selection of top 10 most influential figures of the past decade – consisting of individuals and groups.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, former US president Barack Obama, Bill and Melinda Gates who co-chair an eponymous foundation, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, managing director of International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Jack Ma, author and TV host Fareed Zakaria were nominated as individuals who have had the greatest impact over the last 10 years.

Two collective nominees were the Strongman – referring to the world’s authoritarian leaders, such as Vladimir Putin of Russia, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Xi Jinping of China and Donald Trump of America – and the women of the #MeToo movement.

Foreign Policy’s annual global thinkers list was launched in 2009 “to shine a spotlight on some of the most influential people in the world — for better or worse.”

By Kim Arin (