Intellectual lives (A-K)

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Intellectual lives (A-K)

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Brief biographies of the 100 men and women who made it into the Prospect/Foreign Policy 2008 global intellectuals list. This list runs from A to K; bios from L to Z here.

Click here to vote for your top intellectuals. Discuss our selection on First Drafts, the Prospect blog.

Aitzaz Ahsan, Pakistan

Lawyer and politician

As president of the Pakistani Supreme Court Bar Association and a senior figure in the Pakistan People’s party, Ahsan has played a leading role in opposing anti-democratic moves by Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. He is author of The Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Ghana/United States


Appiah is Laurance S Rockefeller University professor of philosophy at Princeton and author of numerous books and novels, including The Ethics of Identity.

Anne Applebaum, United States

Journalist, historian

A regular columnist for the Washington Post, Applebaum is a veteran journalist and the author of Gulag: A History, a Pulitzer prize-winning account of the Soviet prison system. Click here to read her Prospect pieces.

Jacques Attali, France

Economist, writer

A former adviser to President François Mitterand, Attali played a leading role in helping former Warsaw pact countries make the transition to market economies. He is author of Noise: The Political Economy of Music. A contributing editor to Foreign Policy, Attali wrote “Monogamy: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” for the September/October 2005 issue of FP.

George Ayittey, Ghana


Ayittey is a prominent Ghanaian scholar, activist, and author of Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa’s Future. As president of the Washington-based Free Africa Foundation, he argues that “Africa is poor because she is not free.” He is professor of economics at American University in Washington DC.

Daniel Barenboim, Israel

Conductor, pianist, peace activist

An outspoken critic of Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories, Barenboim is “conductor for life” at the Berlin State Opera and is widely seen as a successor to Lorin Maazel at the New York Philharmonic.

Anies Baswedan, Indonesia

University president, political analyst

President of Paramadina University in Jakarta and a noted researcher, Baswedan played a leading role in the student movements that helped oust Indonesian dictator Suharto.

Pope Benedict XVI, Germany/Vatican

Religious leader, theologian

Born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, Pope Benedict is a leading theologian and a staunch defender of Catholic traditions and values. Prior to his election as pope in 2005, he was a prolific author and commentator and even co-founded a theological journal, the influential Communio.

Ian Buruma, Britain/Netherlands


A former journalist who spent years working in Asia, Buruma is best known for his book Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance and for his commentary on faith and moral relativism. He is a widely syndicated columnist and a popular lecturer. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil

Politician, author

An internationally renowned sociologist and a two-term former president of Brazil, Cardoso is professor at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. He has authored numerous books, including Dependency and Development in Latin America, and is a director of the Club of Madrid.

Noam Chomsky, United States

Linguist, activist

A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1955, the prolific Chomsky is a groundbreaking linguist and a prominent critic of US foreign policy. Winner of the 2005 global intellectuals poll, soon afterwards he defended himself against his critics in Prospect.

JM Coetzee, South Africa


The 2003 winner of the Nobel prize in literature, Coetzee wrote his most famous novels— Waiting for the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K and Disgrace—while a university professor in South Africa and the United States. Click here to read his fiction for Prospect.

Paul Collier, Britain

Development and conflict economist

Author most recently of The Bottom Billion, awarded the 2008 Gelber prize, Collier is professor of economics at Oxford and a leading expert on the governance and development challenges faced by the world’s poorest countries. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Richard Dawkins, Britain

Biologist, author

Dawkins’s seminal 1976 work, The Selfish Gene, explores the role played by genes in the evolutionary process. He may be better known today for the criticisms of religion and “intelligent design” theories put forth recently in The God Delusion. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Alexander de Waal, Britain

Writer, Africa activist

Programme director at the Social Science Research Council, De Waal is a frequently cited expert on the Darfur crisis and on African health issues. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Thérèse Delpech, France

Political scientist

One of France’s most respected analysts of international affairs, Delpech is director for strategic studies at the Atomic Energy Commission of France, senior research fellow at CERI (Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques), and author most recently of Savage Century: Back to Barbarism.

Daniel Dennett, United States


Dennett is the Austin B Fletcher professor of philosophy at Tufts University, where his life’s work is building a “philosophy of mind” to explain how human consciousness works. He is the author of Content and Consciousness, Consciousness Explained, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and Breaking the Spell, among others.

Jared Diamond, United States

Biologist, historian

The pre-eminent scholar of the relationship between the environment and civilisational success, Diamond is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse. He is professor of geography and environmental health at the University of California at Los Angeles. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Esther Duflo, France

Development economist

Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel professor of poverty alleviation and development economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studies health, poverty and credit issues in the developing world. She wrote “21 Solutions to Save the World: Fund What Works” for the May/June 2007 issue of FP.

William Easterly, United States

Economist, aid sceptic

A scathing critic of “the ideology of development,” Easterly views much foreign aid as messianic, wasted, or even harmful to developing countries. He is professor of economics at New York University, and author of The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Shirin Ebadi, Iran

Lawyer, human rights activist

Awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2003 for her advocacy on behalf of Iranian dissidents and others, especially women and children, Ebadi is a human-rights lawyer in Tehran and author of the memoir Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope.

Umberto Eco, Italy

Medievalist, novelist

Eco’s dense novels, such as The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum, are a dizzying blend of philosophy, biblical analysis, and arcane literary references. An expert in semiotics, he is president of the school of humanist studies at the University of Bologna.

Fan Gang, China


Foreign analysts listen closely to the remarks of Fan, the influential director of the government-owned National Economic Research Institute in Beijing and a leading reform advocate, for clues about what Chinese leaders are thinking about the global economy.

Drew Gilpin Faust, United States

University president, historian

Harvard’s first female president, Faust is a respected American civil war historian and the author of six books, including most recently This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.

Niall Ferguson, Britain


The Laurence A Tisch professor of history at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Ferguson is a prolific author best known for The Pity of War, his counterintuitive take on the British role in the first world war. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Alain Finkielkraut, France

Essayist, philosopher

One of France’s most prominent columnists, the controversial Finkielkraut teaches about the “history of ideas” at the École Polytechnique in Paris and is a polemical critic of modern French society.

Thomas Friedman, United States

Journalist, columnist

Friedman—the New York Times’s foreign-affairs chief commentator, three-time Pulitzer-winning journalist and author of The World is Flat and From Beirut to Jerusalem—is one of the world’s most popular and influential columnists. He wrote “The First Law of Petropolitics” for the May/June 2006 issue of FP.

Francis Fukuyama, United States

Political scientist

Renowned for declaring The End of History after the fall of the Soviet Union, Fukuyama is professor of international political economy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and author most recently of America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Yegor Gaidar, Russia

Economist, politician

Gaidar was Boris Yeltsin’s acting prime minister from 15th June to 14th December 1992 and a proponent of “shock therapy” for the Russian economy. He is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy.

Howard Gardner, United States

Psychologist, author

The John H and Elisabeth A Hobbs professor of cognition and education at the Harvard graduate school of education, Gardner is the recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant” and the author of more than 20 books, most recently Responsibility at Work and Five Minds for the Future. He wrote “21 Solutions to Save the World: An Embarrassment of Riches” for the May/June 2007 issue of FP.

Neil Gershenfeld, United States

Physicist, computer scientist

Gershenfeld heads the Centre for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he takes an interdisciplinary approach to quantum computing, nanotechnology and personal fabrication. He is author most recently of Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop—From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication.

Malcolm Gladwell, Canada/United States

Pop sociologist, journalist

Author of Blink and The Tipping Point, Gladwell is a national magazine award-winning staff writer at the New Yorker.

Al Gore, United States

Climate change activist, politician

Since serving two terms as Bill Clinton’s vice-president in the 1990s, Gore has become a leading advocate on climate change and a winner of the Nobel peace prize. He made the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Ramachandra Guha, India


An Indian historian, columnist and MacArthur fellow, Guha has taught in the United States, Norway and now in Bangalore. He is author of India After Gandhi.

Alma Guillermoprieto, Mexico

Journalist, author

A Mexican journalist and a MacArthur fellow, Guillermoprieto has written extensively in such publications as the New Yorker, The New York Review of Books and the Washington Post. A veteran war correspondent, she is a former South America bureau chief for Newsweek and author of Dancing with Cuba. Her chronicles of Latin America’s “lost decade” were published as The Heart That Bleeds in 1994.

Fethullah Gülen, Turkey

Religious leader

A modernist Islamic scholar and leader of the movement named after him, Gülen is widely considered one of the most important Muslim thinkers alive today. He has authored more than 60 books.

Jürgen Habermas, Germany


Habermas’s diverse interests range from epistemology to the rule of law, but his most influential work is on the “public sphere”—the arena in which arguments about political matters take place. He is author of The Theory of Communicative Action and, most recently, The Dialectics of Secularisation, a dialogue with Joseph Ratzinger.

Václav Havel, Czech Republic

Statesman, playwright

A leading dissident and repeated political prisoner during the Soviet era, Havel became president of Czechoslovakia after the “velvet revolution” of 1989, saw his country through a transition to a democratic market economy and managed the split with Slovakia.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somalia/Netherlands

Activist, politician

An ex-member of the Dutch parliament and a fierce critic of the role of women in Islam, Ali has feared for her life since writing the screenplay for Submission, the provocative short film that led to Theo Van Gogh’s murder. Click here to read her Prospect pieces.

Christopher Hitchens, Britain/United States

Journalist, author

One of the English language’s most sought-after polemicists, Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of God Is Not Great. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Hu Shuli, China


Managing editor of Caijing, a top Chinese business magazine, Hu Shuli is a veteran journalist, author and panellist for the Washington Post‘s PostGlobal website.

Samuel Huntington, United States

Political scientist

Through such works as Political Order in Changing Societies, Huntington’s influence on his field is profound, but his most famous book is The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order. Currently Albert J Weatherhead III professor at Harvard University, Huntington co-founded Foreign Policy in 1970. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Michael Ignatieff, Canada

Human rights theorist, politician

A past winner of the Gelber prize for his book Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism, Ignatieff is a leading thinker on human-rights issues. He is deputy leader of Canada’s Liberal party and former head of Harvard’s Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Tony Judt, Britain


Judt is the Erich Maria Remarque professor in European studies at New York University, author of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, and a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Robert Kagan, United States

Author, political commentator

An influential columnist for the Washington Post and elsewhere, Kagan is senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author most recently of The Return of History and the End of Dreams. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Daniel Kahneman, Israel/United States


A Nobel economics laureate for his work on “prospect theory,” Kahneman is senior scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson school of public and international affairs and the Eugene Higgins professor of psychology emeritus at Princeton. He co-wrote “Why Hawks Win” in the January/February 2007 issue of FP, which was selected for publication in Best American Political Writing 2007.

Garry Kasparov, Russia

Democracy activist, chess grandmaster

Since his days as a world chess champion, Kasparov has become an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. Chairman of the United Civil Front, a democratic activist group, he wrote “21 Solutions to Save the World: A Global Magna Carta” for the May/June 2007 issue of FP.

Amr Khaled, Egypt

Muslim televangelist

An entrepreneurial preacher and broadcaster, Khaled is an accountant by training but a born evangelical leader. The moderate Khaled, who preaches a message of tolerance and personal redemption through Islam, is wildly popular among younger Muslims in the Arab world.

Rem Koolhaas, Netherlands


Koolhaas is Pritzker-winning principal at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, but his influence extends to urban theory, journalism and beyond. The co-founder of Volume magazine, his most famous works include Maison at Bordeaux, the Seattle Public Library and the Casa da Musica hall in Porto, Portugal. He is “professor in practice” at Harvard University’s architecture department and author of Delirious New York and S,M,L,XL.

Ivan Krastev, Bulgaria

Political scientist

Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Krastev is editor of FP‘s Bulgarian edition . Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

Enrique Krauze, Mexico


Krauze is publisher of Editorial Clío and editor of Letras Libres, a Mexican cultural magazine. He is author of Mexico: Biography of Power.

Paul Krugman, United States

Economist, columnist

A fiery political commentator for the New York Times and a respected trade theorist, Krugman is a John Bates Clark award-winning economist at Princeton University. His most recent book is The Conscience of a Liberal. Click here to read his Prospect pieces.

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