How TIME Chose Its 2022 List of Next Generation Leaders

TIME,We are focused on rising stars who will shape the future. Our series Next Generation Leaders was launched in 2014. We joined hands with Rolex for the first time in 2014. This series focuses on young professionals from different fields who work to improve our world. This edition includes, for example, beauty entrepreneur Deepica Mutyala, who is creating better cosmetics for people of color and just partnered with Mattel to launch the first ever South Asian CEO Barbie doll; Nigerian Afrobeats star CKay; and Bolor-Erdene Battsengel, the youngest member of Mongolia’s Cabinet, who is revolutionizing public services for the digital age.

Our international cover features one of these leaders, Olga Rudenko, the enterprising 33-year-old editor in chief of the Kyiv Independent, a startup that has quickly become the world’s primary source for reliable English-language journalism on the war in Ukraine. As we were preparing to go to press, the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a special citation to the “journalists of Ukraine for their courage, endurance, and commitment to truthful reporting during Vladimir Putin’s ruthless invasion of their country and his propaganda war in Russia.” The Independent—founded in November by journalists who left their previous employer after a scandal over editorial integrity—is a remarkable example of the bravery it takes to keep reporting on a brutal conflict that hits so close to home. TIME’s Lisa Abend, a contributor to TIME has been in touch with Rudenko from the beginning of the Russian invasion. We are delighted to share the story of Rudenko and her coworkers.

Leadership of the kind displayed by these young people will be necessary to combat so many of the world’s crises, not least the consequences of climate change. In more than two decades at TIME, Aryn Baker’s reporting has taken her all over the globe, from war zones across the Middle East to Liberia during the Ebola outbreak. In 2019, as the world marked what was then the second warmest year on record, she wrote from Jacobabad, Pakistan, about what it’s like to live in one of the hottest cities in the world. She had always longed to visit Antarctica and the Arctic, but she never got around to it. “I like trees, and I hate the cold,” says Baker, who these days is based in Rome as TIME’s senior international climate and environmental correspondent. “To be honest I was never really interested in going to the poles.”

In early 2020, that all changed when she was invited to join a Greenpeace sponsored research expedition to study penguins on Antarctic Peninsula. Three weeks in Antarctic Peninsula, among the glaciers, was enough to get her hooked. Scientists began to forecast an Arctic summer without ice as early as the 2030s. The other side of the earth also began calling. Coast Guard cutter from the United States was last summer HealyOne of only two U.S. Coast Guard Coast Guard icebreakers was planning an Arctic trans-Atlantic transit. She asked to be embedded for a portion of that journey. The result is her story in this issue about the fight over the top of the world, as erosion and melting permafrost threaten catastrophe for Indigenous communities and places like the U.S., Russia, the E.U., and China (which considers itself a “near Arctic” nation) ramp up their claims on a region that until now held little strategic interest.

“The poles regulate our climate, our weather patterns, and even our maritime food supply,” writes Baker in an opening essay about her travels. “And they are warming faster than anywhere else on earth, with untold consequences for those who live at the planet’s more accommodating latitudes.”

Also in this issue is senior correspondent Justin Worland’s reflection on a new film, Black Gold produced by TIME Studios and Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures. It’s a gripping documentary about the devastating environmental impact of Big Oil, and a global conspiracy that changed the world forever. We hope you’ll tune in: the film debuts in theaters nationwide on May 11, and on Paramount+ on May 17.

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