Working to help others and improve the community is, for many, part of what it means to be human. An army of workers and volunteers work every day to create a more humane world, fighting injustice and tackling public health crises.
Still, both in the United States and worldwide, there is no shortage of humanitarian and social causes desperately in need of individuals willing fully devote themselves to the service of others.
24/7 Wall St. identified 25 humanitarians who not only have dedicated their lives to helping others, but are often also innovators in the field, creating a blueprint for success that others have followed. Some are world renowned and historically relevant, while others are little known outside of the communities they serve. Their ages range from 21 (Malala Yousafzai) to 93 (former U.S. President Jimmy Carter).
The accomplishments of these extraordinary people include creating vaccines to tackle one of the leading causes of death for children under five and rehabilitating thousands of rape and prostitution survivors.
One of these heroes distinguishes himself through his novel approach to reducing violence in at-risk communities, while another works to remind the world that peonage and slavery haven’t yet fallen into the dustbin of history. There’s the “Saint of Sudan,” the only full-time doctor serving hundreds of thousands of war-ravaged civilians, and a labor rights activist who has had a day named in her honor by a U.S. state governor, a rare occurrence for someone who is still alive.
This list is by no means complete, but it offers a diverse snapshot of some of today’s hero humanitarians.
In order to identify the humanitarians for this list, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed recent recipients of various humanitarian awards and other distinctions, including the Aurora Prize, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
To qualify for this list, the humanitarian must have been alive as of August 13, 2018. Philanthropists, state officials and wealthy individuals who have given away most of their wealth for humanitarian causes were excluded in order to focus on individuals who distinguished themselves in the field rather than in the boardroom.
This list is not ranked, but listed in alphabetical order.