Congratulations, Angela Merkel! The German Chancellor has been chosen as ‘TIME’ magazine’s 2015 Person of the Year, and this huge honor is not given out lightly. Here are the 5 things you need to know about her!
Angela Merkel, 61, as TIME magazine’s Person of the Year for 2015, is the first woman to be named since TIME changed the honor from “Man of the Year” to “Person of the Year” in 1999 — so awesome! The magazine selected Merkel “for asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply”. The news was announced on Dec. 8, and we’re sure you are dying to know everything about the German Chancellor. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
1. She is the first woman to be the Chancellor of Germany.
Merkel was sworn in as Chancellor on Nov. 22, 2005. Since then, she has worked to make Germany a multicultural society, strengthened foreign affairs and economic relations, and has backed bailouts for Greece during the Eurozone crisis. “By ’s end, she had steered the enterprise through not one but two existential crises…the slow-rolling crisis over the euro, the currency shared by 19 nations, all of which were endangered by the default of a single member, Greece,” TIME magazine wrote. “The second [was when] Merkel’s government threw open Germany’s doors to a pressing throng of refugees and migrants, a galvanizing moment in [Merkel’s] career that was until then defined by caution and avoidance of anything resembling drama.” Merkel continues to step outside of her comfort zone to shape Europe’s world history. You go, girl!
2. She grew up in East Germany, on the more oppressed side of the wall.
Growing up in captivity inspired Merkel to make a change in the world. “As a 7-year-old child, I saw the Wall being erected,” Merkel told a security conference in Munich. TIME magazine explained, “She journeyed to Bulgaria and stared over the border toward the forbidden hillsides of Greece. She watched, as almost everyone in the GDR did, television stations beamed from West Germany, and dreamed of visiting California. Merkel understood that she would not be permitted to go there until she was 60, the age at which East Germany trusted its citizens to travel to the West.”
3. She’s a former research scientist.
This woman is beyond brilliant! Merkel studied physics at Leipzig University and got a Ph.D. in quantum chemistry. She also married a fellow scientist, Ulrich Merkel, though they divorced after five years. She kept his name even though she has since married quantum chemist Joachim Sauer.
4. She’s been ranked as the world’s second most powerful person by Forbes.
Forbes named her #2 on their Powerful People list in 2015: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues her reign as the most powerful woman on the planet for 10 years running. Why? She clinched a third four-year term of Europe’s most vibrant economy in December 2014, making her the longest-serving elected EU head of state,” the site wrote. “She fought off a national recession during the global economic crisis with stimulus packages and government subsidies for companies that cut hours for workers, and she is in the thick of trying to help Greece revive its economy.” All the awards.
5. She’s a huge football (soccer) fan and attends games whenever she can.
Yup, she’s a sports fanatic! Merkel has even taken pics with the German football team in the locker room after the game. “In Germany, this public symbiosis between sport and politics is entirely Merkel’s invention…The chancellor’s visit to the German team during the World Cup shows that she takes people and their interests seriously,” The Guardian wrote. It’s basically the equivalent of President Obama showing up at basketball games!
HollywoodLifers, do you think Angela Merkel deserves the title as TIME‘s Person of the Year? Let us know!