Last year, Wickramanayake—who was appointed the United Nations’ Envoy on Youth in 2017—and the U.N. announced Youth 2030, a strategy to involve young people in UN initiatives and strengthen the organization’s focus on their needs, including sustainable development and economic empowerment.
Wickramanayake tweeted saying she was so humbled by the recognition, adding that if not for the young people who believe in her, her bosses at the UN who let her “misbehave” and a team that has her back, and a supportive family, her work wouldn’t be possible.
Editor-in-Chief and CEO of TIME, Edward Felsenthal said that when they first published the TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people 15 years ago, it was dominated by individuals who rose through traditional power structures: heads of state, CEOs of public companies, actors from big-budget blockbusters, leaders of global foundations.
“What has been striking about more recent editions is the growing number of individuals who did not need an establishment to command international attention—people like the Parkland, Fla., students who mobilized against gun violence (in 2018) and the climate activist Greta Thunberg (in 2019),” he said.
In the spirit of the TIME 100, many of the TIME 100 Next profiles are written by more established influencers, including TIME 100 alumni—testament to the powerful ways that influence flows across and between generations.