“For being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow,” Time magazine named Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates as its 2005 Persons of the Year.
Editor-at-large Nancy Gibbs making the case for Time’s selection called the Gates/Bono alliance “unlikely, unsentimental, hard nosed, clear eyed and dead set on driving poverty into history.
“The rocker’s job is to be raucous, grab our attention. The engineers’ job is to make things work. 2005 is the year they turned the corner, when Bono charmed and bullied and morally blackmailed the leaders of the world’s richest countries into forgiving $40 billion in debt owed by the poorest…The Gateses, having built the world’s biggest charity, with a $29 billion endowment, spent the year giving more money away faster than anyone ever has, including nearly half a billion dollars for the Grand Challenges, in which they asked the very best brains in the world how they would solve a huge problem, like inventing a vaccine that needs no needles and no refrigeration, if they had the money to do it,” Gibbs wrote.
“It would be easy to watch the alliance in action and imagine the division of labor: head and heart, business and culture; one side brings the money, the other side the buzz. But like many great teams, this one is more than the sum of its symbols,” she added.
Time’s extensive Person of the Year package includes in-depth interviews with Bill and Melinda Gates, dissecting their approach, and exploring how Bono gets his message across. Also, a Q &A with former Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush and William Jefferson Clinton, the onetime rivals who joined forces to raise relief money this year. The magazine dubs them “Partners of the Year.” ♦