• I am from India. I would suggest the following two personalities my country produced during the 20th century who were truly outstanding, in my opinion. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi or simply Bapuji. He was the architect of the 'freedom movement' which made India a free and independent democratic republic. The remarkable aspect of the freedom struggle he organized and led was that it was a totally non-violent movement. His principle of non-violence has found acceptance all over the world and a new school of political and philosophical thought called 'Ghandhism' has emerged, which of course is named after Mahatma Gandhi. Sir C.V. Raman. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930 and is best known for the 'Raman Effect' which is named after him. His accomplishments were remarkable in that his research work was done entirely in India, unlike many other Nobel Laureates from India who did their research abroad. I have given my nominations. Other AB users from India are welcome to give their nominations according to their own opinions. . ABers from other countries too could give their own nominations according to their opinion and need not necessarily restrict themselves to commenting under other answers from their countries. Thank you.
  • I would say Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King were outstanding citizens of the USA.
  • WOW! There is a tall order! There are quite a few, and many of them are already well known, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Bill Gates, and any number of other people/celebrities. So, being who I am, I'm gonna go a little bit off the beaten path and put a different twist on things...people who were outstanding personalities and had a HUGE impact on not just my country (America), but the world at large. They are people the average person may not know of, or know very much about. ADMIRAL HYMAN G. RICKOVER, the "Father of the Nuclear Navy" Although the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program is, of course, a huge program by the simple fact of the large numbers of people involved in it, it has NEVER been contested that the ONLY reason it succeeded as a technological and engineering marvel and a stellar example of how to PROPERLY run such a program was due to Admiral Rickover. Rickover was not only responsible for developing a nuclear propulsion plant small enough to fit inside a 28 foot wide submarine hull in the early 1950's. At this time, no reactors had EVER been built for the purpose of generating power, either electrical or propulsion, and he was responsible for developing the engineering and technology that would shrink such a reactor from the size of a city block to something that would fit inside a submarine hull. He was also responsible for the development of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the worlds first commercial nuclear electrical power plant. It went online in 1957, not quite three years after the Nautilus first went to sea. Rickovers standards of performance and how he achieved them are hallmarks by any measure. PRESIDENT HARRY S. TRUMAN: Though he came into the Presidency through the tragic death of Franklin D. Roosevelt near the end of WWII, he stands out to me for two very important reasons...the second reason most of all: First, having had no knowledge of the atomic bomb program, or any of the other related aspects worldwide, until he became President on April 12th, 1945, he was the one who had the ultimate authority and responsibility for ordering the use or atomic weapons on Japan. This was NOT a desision made lightly. Second, AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, President Truman made a unilateral decision NOT to use any more atomic weapons following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki...even though he was far from certain that Japan would surrender and it seemed inevitable that an invasion would be necessary otherwise. He made this decision knowing that America was the ONLY nation on the planet with atomic weapons and was therefore the most powerful. And more than that, he refused to deploy them at any other time, no matter what the perceived military need was. This set an important precident which has been adhered to ever since. Truman understood that the nuclear genie was out of the bottle...that the technology would eventually spread or develope independently to others. And that if we did not show great restraint, most especially when we were the only nuclear armed nation, then there could be but little doubt what would eventually happen later, when other nations obtained their own atomic weapons. I chose these two people because they were both in charge of programs of significant, world changing technologies and events. Their efforts changed our perceptions of nuclear power and, most importantly, have PREVENTED the use of nuclear weapons against other nations in the decades following the end of WWII. Their wise and level headed decisions, in an area where nobody had EVER tread before, established the initial groundwork that got us through the Cold War era, and beyond, without nuclear war. And we came so very close, on at least two occasions: the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, which most people have heard of, and a later, much more serious event, in 1968 with the soviet submarine K-129.
  • "Outstanding personalities" is broad enough to allow just about anything I want to say, yes? :) So I'll mention a couple that I have much knowledge about, and ignore a lot of the more famous folk: 1. Werner Erhard. A controversial guy who started the est training in the 70's -- a truly original thinker who studied all sorts of self-help disciplines and then one day had an insight that reorganized it all into a coherent understanding of life. He tried to teach that to others with his programs... it can be argued that the result of this effort was mixed, but it cannot be argued that he was an extraordinary thinker and presence. I saw him speak several times and have never experienced anything like it before or since. It was enlightening and transformational. 2. My mother. In 1963, she left my abusive Baptist-preacher father and took all 6(!) children with her, and supported and raised them by herself, while struggling with enormous obstacles. A devout Christian, she suffered many doubts and dark times, but kept going and trying to be an inspiration to everyone around her. In 2001, she succumbed to cancer at the age of 76. This little woman with a lively sense of humor and nerves of steel had never accomplished anything of public note, but the church was packed to standing-room only at her memorial service. Sorry, there's no Wikipedia links about her.
  • I would have to say that Ghandi would be my choice. anyone that can bring about such a change without violence with just the power of mind and will, is a very special person in World ,not just Indian History In the UK I would say Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher Princess Diana in her way was very influential. In the US Although he did not do that much I think John F Kennedy and his Brother made a big Difference to Attitudes of the American People. Martin Luther King was the American Ghandi I suppose.
  • Mother Teresa is my idol, and my first choice. Oh, to be more like her! I can only make the most feeble attempts, and they will never match her. Since the first was a woman, I'll stay in that same vein. My second choice is Princess Diana. She was a true princess, and embodied all a princess should be. She really cared for people, and did all she could to help them. +5
  • i could look out to the popular vote but i would rather turn inward to my own personal vote. max lucado has had a profound effect on my life by influencing my walk with Jesus. my parents are a joined entity, i am not sure how i could even have survived without them. --------------------------------------- now for the meat of your question you want rosa parks said no, i am not inferior but equal. i have the same rights as anyone else as a living person. martin luther king, opened doors that might still be closed today if not for him. needless to say +5
  • JFK and I'll have to include Ronald Regan as well
  • Ok Im going to probably upset someone with my answer but one person Im choosing is going to be John Lennon. I feel his message was one of Love and Peace. I just wish we had that in the world. . The other one JFK. Sad that we wernt able to see more of what could have been. . Im also going to throw out Princess Diana's name. Even though she wasnt from this country. I loved her work so much and cryed for days when she died.
  • France: The three most important for me: - Jacques Lacan, psychoanalyst - Benoit Mandelbrot, mathematician - Gilles Deleuze Here a list of French celebrities. Source: Please notice that many French celebrities are not French born! Actors: - Jean-Paul Belmondo - Fernandel - Marcel Marceau - Gérard Philipe - Le Corbusier. architect (Swiss-born) Authors: - Antonin Artaud - Albert Camus, existentialist author - Louis-Ferdinand Céline, 20th century author - Eugène Ionesco - Jacques Lacan, psychoanalyst - Stéphane Mallarmé, poet - Raymond Queneau - Jean Paul Sartre, 20th century existentialist philosopher - Paul Valéry, 20th century poet - Jules Verne, novelist Pierre Boulez, avant-garde composer Filmmakers: - Luc Besson - Jean-Luc Godard - Claude Lelouch - Jacques Tati Musicians, singers: - Georges Brassens - Natalie Dessay, opera singer - Serge Gainsbourg - Jacques Higelin - Patricia Kaas - Bernard Lavilliers - Édith Piaf Philosophers: - Gaston Bachelard - Guy Debord - Gilles Deleuze - Michel Foucault Scientists: - Marie Curie, physicist and chemist - Benoit Mandelbrot, mathematician - Jacques Monod, biologist, Nobel prize winner 1965 - René Thom, mathematician; Fields Medalist 1958
  • (as requested in a comment, I gave one answer for France and one for Germany) Germany The most important for me would be: - Jürgen Habermas (born 1929), philosopher, social theorist - Albert Einstein (1879–1955), physicist Here a list of famous German people: The most important for me in the 20th century were: - Joseph Beuys (1921–1986), artist - Wim Wenders (born 1945), film director - Jürgen Habermas (born 1929), philosopher, social theorist - Albert Einstein (1879–1955), physicist - Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901–1976), physicist - Max Planck (1858–1947), physicist - Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956), playwright, poet - Günter Grass (born 1927), author, Nobel Prize in Literature 1999 - Hermann Hesse (1877–1962), author
  • Aneurin Bevan. Architect of the National Health service"free at the point of delivery"in his time. Lawrence of Arabia
  • If you will accept 3, Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon.
  • Mother Theresa Mahatma Ghandi
  • Winston Churchill Stephen Hawking
  • Jim Carey and Mike Meyers.
  • Okay... I think that people seem to be reading this question wrong. Either that, or I am. It says "of YOUR country"... People seem to be putting figures from several different countries. o.O I'm from Scotland and I can't really think of any great political revolutionaries or anything. Not from the 20th century anyway... I'm gonna go for people with cultural influence. So I am saying Billy Connolly lol. He's my favourite comedian, one of the funniest guys ever and he basically changed the way stand up is done. He's amazing. =D Er... I dunno now. We've had a few great authors in the 20th century. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson... er... I give up. =P *edit* Here's links, and I realised Robert Louis Stevenson was 19th century... I'll replace him with JM Barrie. :P And Robert Louis Stevenson for the sake of interest:
  • Winston Churchill Brian Clough
  • For America I would say Mohammed Ali and Henry Ford.
  • And for Australia I would say Peter Norman and Vincent Lingiari.
  • Homer Simpson and Evel Keneval
  • Like most countries, we have an embarrassment of riches on that score. I'll add two from the U.S. that others haven't included yet: Samuel Longhorn Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain. (I hope I'm not cheating -- he passed away in 1910.) Towards the end of his life as one of the U.S. greatest novelists and social critics, he crusaded against the annexation of the Philippines after the Spanish American War. Patsy Takemoto Mink (who I'm selfishly including because she was a friend and mentor). She was the first woman of color elected to the United States Congress, where she served a total of 24 years (1965-1977, 1990-2002). She wanted to be a doctor, but none of the medical schools to which she applied admitted women in 1948. She decided to become a lawyer instead. She became the first Japanese American woman admitted to the bar in Hawai'i. She was elected to the territorial legislature, where she helped write the Hawai'i State Constitution. Her signature achievement in Congress was her authorship and passage of Title IX of the Higher Education Act in 1972 -- which prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender in education. She championed that issue all her life. The year that she passed away was the first year in which a majority of both first year medical students and first year law students in the United States were women. (It took her 30 years, but she did it. Not that others didn't help, of course -- but still.) After her death, the Congress renamed Title IX as the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.
  • I am from South Africa. I would say: (1) Mr Nelson Mandela. Was incarcerated for 27 years for political insurrection -- anti-apartheid activism. He was released from prison in 1990. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela supported reconciliation and negotiation, and helped lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa. I believe personally that he is a great and natural philanthropist (which is rare, if not non-existent) in politicians. He was President for some years, but has now retired. (2) Christiaan Neethling Barnard (November 8, 1922 – September 2, 2001) was a South African cardiac surgeon, famous for performing the world's first successful human-to-human heart transplant. He was also a great philantrhopist (if a bit of a playboy, as well). Another great man.

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