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TIME names Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year 2019

The 16-year-old climate activist is the youngest individual ever to be named TIME's person of the Year.

TIME has revealed Greta Thunberg as its 2019 Person of the Year. 

The accolade, announced Wednesday on NBC’s TODAY show, recognizes an individual or group of people who "most influenced the news and the world" during the past year.

Thunberg, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in March, has inspired young people across the world to organize and speak out against climate change. Her scathing speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September was watched worldwide. 

"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words," she said during her speech. " And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying."

The announcement makes the 16-year-old climate change activist the magazine's youngest individual ever to be given the title. Before 2019, the youngest individual to be given the title was 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh. Lindbergh was the first person named Person of the Year, after becoming the first person to make a solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic.

"For sounding the alarm about humanity’s predatory relationship with the only home we have, for bringing to a fragmented world a voice that transcends backgrounds and borders, for showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads, Greta Thunberg is TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year," TIME editor-in-chief wrote.

Credit: TIME

TIME has featured a Person of the Year since 1927. The title is not necessarily an award or an honor, rather the magazine makes a selection each year of a person who has most influenced the world "for good or ill."

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The title is sometimes given to a group of people or an abstract concept. Last year, TIME selected "The Guardians and the War on Truth," a group of four journalists and one news organization whose work in journalism resulted in their imprisonment or the loss of their lives. The year before that, TIME selected "The Silence Breakers", or the people who spoke up and sparked a national conversation on sexual harassment and assault. American Women (1975) and the computer (1982) have been named in the past.

Among the 2019 finalists were Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, President Donald Trump, The anonymous CIA officer known as the whistleblower who shook up the U.S government by being the catalyst to the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, and the Hong Kong Protesters. 

Rather than name runner ups this year, TIME named several other people as "Person of the Year" in their respective fields. The U.S. Women's Soccer team, who won the World Cup title this year, was named Athlete of the Year. Grammy-nominated singer Lizzo was named Entertainer of the Year. Disney CEO Bob Iger was named businessperson of the year, following the successful launch of the highly anticipated streaming service, Disney+. 

"Public Servants" were named Guardians of the Year. The group includes the anonymous CIA whistleblower who was one of the Person of the Year finalists. Others included in the group were Marie Yovanovitch, Bill Taylor, Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman, all of whom also participated in the ongoing impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

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