Can you believe that 2023 is almost over? A lot has happened this year, and there are a few people who have stood out for their inspiring acts of bravery, innovation, and activism.
From scientists to human rights campaigners, Nobel Prize winners to artists, we are rounding up the top ten most inspiring people of 2023 that you need to know about.
With so much going on across the world, from war to poverty, economic crises to a rise in hate crime, acts of courage and compassion are needed now more than ever before.
Thankfully, there are a few inspirational people who are looking beyond themselves to bring positive change and make the world a better place.
While there are thousands of people who have proven to be hugely inspiring over the past 12 months, we regretfully can’t list them all. So, we’re keeping it to ten that we think you should know about. Here are the top ten most inspirational people of 2023.
TMTGN’s favourite things that happened in 2023:
- Advances were made in cervical cancer treatment that could save thousands of lives.
- IVF was made accessible to same-sex and HIV-positive couples in the UK.
- 12 African countries gained access to the malaria vaccine.
- France imposed a ban on short-haul flights when trains are available.
- Killarney in Ireland imposed a ban on single-use coffee cups.
10. RowVaughn Wells – fighting for justice
Earlier this year, RowVaughn Wells was faced with perhaps one of the greatest tragedies any person can face. In January, her son Tyre Nichols was murdered by a group of Memphis police.
Showing her strength and love for her son, RowVaughn continues to use her voice to ensure her son’s story is not forgotten. She has become a prominent activist in the fight against the police brutality inflicted on black men.
9. Narges Mohammadi – a fearless activist for human rights
Next up on our list of the most inspiring people of 2023 is the incredible Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi.
Vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, Mohammadi is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who fearlessly fights for the rights of women to control their own bodies.
She also stands up against the punishment of solitary confinement and extreme isolation imposed by the Islamic republic.
8. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – one of the most inspiring figures in politics
A global political leader in the push for immediate climate action, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected President of Brazil in January this year. Already, he has made huge strides in the country’s environmental progress.
Pledging to protect the Amazon Rainforest, one of the country’s – if not the world’s – most important natural resources, da Silva is already making incredible strides forward, with deforestation in the Amazon falling to its lowest level since 2018.
7. Dmitry Muratov – an inspiring Russian journalist
A Russian journalist and television presenter, Dmitry Muratov is the editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which aims to retain freedom of expression.
After being labelled a ‘foreign agent’ by the Russian government, Muratov and his team launched a new online publication to keep providing people with news that isn’t controlled by the government.
6. Barbara Kingsolver – a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, essayist, and poet
Not your average writer, Barbara Kingsolver uses her writing to push for change. From the crises of the planet to poverty to the potential of local farming, she stands firm for what she believes in.
Her most recent novel, Demon Copperhead, is a modern retelling of the iconic Dickens novel David Copperfield in which she shines a light on the plight of the poor, especially children.
5. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema – a powerhouse for the environment
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema is one name we couldn’t miss when compiling our list of the top ten most inspiring people of 2023. At Biodiversity COP15, Mrema spearheaded an agreement that aims to not just put an end to but reverse wildlife destruction.
The agreement also aims to protect an incredible 30% of the planet’s land and waters for nature by 2030.
4. Fran Drescher – a prominent figure in the actors’ strike
An American actress, activist, and trade union leader from New York City, Fran Drescher was one of the most prominent figures in the actors’ strikes that took place throughout this year.
Leading members in a 118-day-long strike aimed at achieving an acceptable deal with studios, Drescher successfully brought union members and the industry as a whole together in a way that none thought was possible.
3. Yvon Chouinard – a leader in climate change activism
US activist, philanthropist, and founder of environmentally conscious clothing company Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, was named by Time magazine as one of the most influential people of 2023.
A leader in climate activism, Chouinard made the inspiring decision to donate his entire company to save planet Earth.
2. Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi – speaking out against an oppressive regime
Iranian journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi helped break the horrifying news of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was beaten while in custody after being detained by morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab ‘improperly’.
Standing up against the Iranian government is no easy feat, and the two journalists have been sentenced to 12 and 13 years in prison.
1. Lisa Dyson – doing amazing things for the planet
A visionary scientist and biotech entrepreneur, Lisa Dyson is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring people of 2023.
She is the fourth African-American woman in history to earn a PhD in theoretical physics, which is impressive enough as it is. However, it’s her work that truly makes her an inspiration.
Through her companies, she helps build a circle of carbon capture from the atmosphere to repurpose biomass.
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Mia Mottley: Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley is a formidable leader in the battle against climate change.
A champion of the nations most vulnerable to rising sea levels and global warming, she helped cofound the Loss and Damage Fund to provide financial assistance to countries most vulnerable to climate change.
Margot Robbie: A talented actress and producer, there’s no denying that 2023 was Margot Robbie’s year. Making Barbie, the biggest movie of the year, and inspiring so many women in the process was undeniably an incredible achievement.
Dimie Ogoina: An infectious disease physician and scientist from Nigeria, Dimie Ogoina raised the alarm on a new strain of Mpox. As the global outbreak unfolded, his insights became invaluable in developing strategies to prevent and control outbreaks.
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Your questions answered about the most inspiring people of 2023
If you still have questions, read on! In this section, we answer some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions about this topic, along with some that appear often in online searches.
Who was the most inspirational person?
People will have different answers for this depending on their perspective. However, many would mention names such as Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela.
Who are people that inspire others?
There are many different people who inspire others. Some fight for equal rights and civil rights, while others create incredible art or make impressive scientific discoveries.
Who is an inspirational personality?
Any of the figures listed above can be considered inspirational personalities.