Barack Obama

Person of the Year 2012: Barack Obama
Nadav Kander for TIME

We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Barack Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America. In 2012, he found and forged a new majority, turned weakness into opportunity and sought, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union.

Read the Cover Story

The Choice

TIME’s editors on selecting 2012’s Person of the Year and the four people on our short list

Behind the Cover

Backstage at the making of the issue with images from the White House photo shoot at which Nadav Kander captured this year’s iconic cover image

2012 Person of the Year Photos & Videos

The Shortlist

The Year in …

Person of the Year Archive


No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square, it would incite protests that would topple dictators and start a global wave of dissent. In 2011, protesters didn’t just voice their complaints; they changed the world.

TIME’s Person of the Year is bestowed by the editors on the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year. See who made the grade over TIME’s first eight decades.

See them all