But our choice for Most Inspiring Person is Asma Hakimi, the Afghan woman who ran an underground girls school during the reign of the Taliban. Not once, but every single day, she put her life in jeopardy. She had no expectation of fame or fortune-she just believed deeply that stripping education from girls was consigning them to lives of misery and poverty.

At one point, soldiers raided her school, beating students and arresting teachers. The school was closed. Hakimi's response? She restarted the school the next month. Sadly, the persecution of women has continued under the new government, so the work of Hakimi-who continues to run a girls' school-and others like her, remains dangerous and important.

Hakimi represents all of the women who risked their lives in Afghanistan to promote girls' education, and should serve as a beacon of hope to all those who fight against religious repression around the world.

We were also influenced by the fact that Hakimi inspires such a broad range of people-conservatives and Christians who admire her for standing up to the Taliban, liberal feminists who praise her commitment to empowering girls and women, and Muslims who admire her as a model of a forward-looking and compassionate Islam. She is therefore, both an inspiring and a unifying figure.