Time has declared German Chancellor Angela Merkel their 2015 “person of the year” Wednesday. The announcement comes after the magazine released a “shortlist” of eight finalists Monday. The choices, which included controversial figures such as Donald Trump and Vladamir Putin, were highly criticized by many media outlets, including Flavorwire.
As with the shortlist, Time revealed their final selection Wednesday morning on the Today show, before posting a slew of stories on Merkel, as well as the runners up.
As the site points out, Merkel is the fourth female “Person of the Year” since 1927 and the first to be named individually since the name of the award changed from “Man of the Year” to “Person of the Year” in 1999. (Some “Person of the Year selections have been awarded to groups, some of which have included both men and women.)
Merkel, an incumbent world leader whose nation seems comparatively stable, seems an uncharacteristically bland choice compared to her more bombastic competitors, such as the aforementioned leaders and the #BlackLivesMatters movement. Time, however, makes a strong argument for her rising importance on the world stage during a time of great chaos.
“Not once or twice but three times this year there has been reason to wonder whether Europe could continue to exist, not culturally or geographically but as a historic experiment in ambitious statecraft. Merkel had already emerged as the indispensable player in managing Europe’s serial debt crises; she also led the West’s response to Vladimir Putin’s creeping theft of Ukraine. But now the prospect of Greek bankruptcy threatened the very existence of the euro zone.”
Moreover, Time argued that her unwavering commitment to Germany’s role in humanitarian efforts in those conflicts.
“By viewing the refugees as victims to be rescued rather than invaders to be repelled, the woman raised behind the Iron Curtain gambled on freedom. The pastor’s daughter wielded mercy like a weapon. You can agree with her or not, but she is not taking the easy road.”
You can read TIME’s profile on their person of the year, Anegela Merkel, on their website.