December 14, 2011; Source: Time MagazineAuthoritarian leaders, a floundering global economy, and rigged elections. Protesters on nearly every continent took all of this on in 2011, with hundreds of thousands of regular people taking action, often at great personal risk and cost. And so it is not surprising that Time Magazine named “the protestor” as their 2011 person of the year, since the title is awarded to someone who influences the tone of that particular year.

“Is there a global tipping point for frustration? Everywhere, it seems, people said they’d had enough,” said Rick Stengel, of Time. “They dissented; they demanded; they did not despair, even when the answers came back in a cloud of tear gas or a hail of bullets. They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change.”—Ruth McCambridge