Time magazine has named German Chancellor Angela Merkel its 2015 "Person of the Year", noting her leadership during the Syrian refugee crisis, the Greek bailout deal, currency turmoil in the European Union, and Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.
The magazine said Merkel “stepped in” every time Europe faced a serious crisis.
It said that while much of the world is debating the balance between safety and freedom, Merkel is asking Germany and the rest of the world to believe in great civilizations and build bridges, not walls. She says wars are won both on and off the battlefield.
Time editor Nancy Gibbs wrote Wednesday, ”Leaders are tested only when people don't want to follow" ... and Merkel provides "steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply.
Merkel became Germany's first female chancellor 10 years ago and one of the leading figures of the European Union.
The daughter of a Lutheran pastor, Merkel was born in Hamburg, West Germany, in 1954, but grew up in communist East Germany after her father accepted a pastorate in Quitzow, Brandenburg, north of Berlin.
Merkel studied physics at the University of Leipzig, earning a doctorate degree in quantum chemistry in 1978. She worked at East Germany’s Academy of Sciences from 1978 to 1990.
Merkel entered politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, first rising to the position of chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union party.
Merkel topped Time finalists that included IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, America's Black Lives Matter activists campaigning for equality and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Merkel is the fourth German chancellor to be named Time magazine's Person of the Year. Willy Brandt was given the honor in 1970 and Konrad Adenaur in 1953. In perhaps the magazine's all-time most controversial choice, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was named Man of the Year in 1938.
Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.