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Selecting the 100 Leaders


Amie Dryer, Teacher, Calvert High School: Genghis Khan

Rory Dippold, Teacher, Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School: Adam Smith

Mark Johnson, Teacher, Concordia International School - Shanghai: Qin Shi Huangdi

Cathy Gorn, P.h.D., Executive Director, National History Day: Catherine the Great

Kevin Wagner, Teacher, Carlisle Area School District: Harvey Milk

Mark Johnson: King Ashoka

Amie Dryer: Muhammad

Rob Greenwood, Teacher, Hereford High School: Bolivar

Cathy Gorn: Susan B. Anthony

Philip Soergel, P.h.D., Chair, History Department, The University of Maryland at College Park: Louis XIV of France

Mark Johnson: Ho Chi Minh

[On-Screen Transition: Panelists and NHD Behring Teachers submitted 170 nominees from all of world history.]

Cathy Gorn: We came up with about 170 leaders for us to debate and analyze.

Lynne O’Hara, Director of Programs, National History Day: Our teachers and historians really had to debate and discuss, not just who should make it on the list, but why.

Cathy Gorn: And then, choose for the one hundred that we have on our website.

[On-Screen Transition: Panelists included historians, classroom teachers, and students.]

Kevin Wagner: It brings together a group of individuals from very different, diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to really talk through a process.

Douglas Bradburn, P.h.D., Founding Director, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at George Washington’s Mount Vernon: There’s still this question about ultimate success. So, ‘impactful on history’ - you can begin a sequence of events that leads to transformative change but your own vision doesn’t win out.

Brian Weaver, Teacher, Central Bucks High School - West: In the the Taiping Rebellion, Hong Xiuquan, ends up, you know, the movement ends up failing, but certainly not for a lack of motivating people.

Mark Johnson: You have a vision but then the ripple effects that are, maybe, the unintended consequences. Where do we stop evaluating your effective achievement of your vision, and then how do we account for those ripple effects that maybe you never intended?

Cathy Gorn: And I don’t think that we can leave someone off because they ultimately failed in their particular vision.

Philip Soergel: Most of the people that we put up there as inventors, had a - also a vision of a different kind of social organization too. I mean, Ford with the assembly line, but also with the way that he considered the factory as sort of a model of life. And then, Edison, as well too, had a completely different set of notions.

Mark Johnson: It goes beyond the small specific of the invention to a way of thinking about the world that can mobilize others to follow.

[On-Screen Transition: Students presented leaders nominated by Behring Teachers to the panel for their consideration.]

Allen Wang, Student, Concordia International School: This is Benazir Bhutto. Benazir Bhutto was the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. And she introduced social-capitalist reforms.

Mark Johnson: I would like to take Bhutto back to the group. I think it gets us some geographical representation that’s needed and gender representation that’s needed.

Allen Wang: So we have Benazir Bhutto, who was the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Kevin Wagner: It’s difficult because no matter what we do, I think, there’s always going to be a feeling that you’ve left somebody behind.

Douglas Bradburn: The question of the global perspective is a really challenging one. If this list was being created in China, by Chinese historians, this would be completely different.

Amie Dryer: I’m a world person so I really appreciate someone like Achebe who is a fantastic author and started an African literature movement.

Kevin Wagner: How do you assign a concrete definition to a term that is so diverse? Depending on where you are in the world, what culture you come from, what religious background that you have? And letting them, hopefully, realize that the definition itself is going to be very fluid depending on what time and what place that you live in.

[On-Screen Transition: How would you choose 100 leaders?]