As Natalya Dmitruk walked onstage to accept her Time 2005 European Heroes award, she whispered to her Russian translator: "I can't believe I'm here with all these amazing people." That's certainly how we felt at Time in the presence of 25 of the individuals we had selected to feature in our third annual European Heroes special issue. Dmitruk, who's from Ukraine, was there because last fall she dared to tell the truth about the country's rigged presidential election.
Some of the other Heroes at last month's London event included screenwriter Richard Curtis and musician Bob Geldof, who were recognized for their work to keep Africa on the world's agenda; Herbert Grönemeyer, Germany's biggest rock star, for his Your Voice Against Poverty campaign; Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, for his compelling onscreen depictions of gay life; Bishop Kevin Dowling, for his work with AIDS patients in South Africa; Asma-Maria Andraos, for leading Lebanon's freedom fight; and Maud Fontenoy, for rowing solo across the Pacific.
For us at Time, it was like seeing the pages of our magazine come to life. And we were delighted to be among such amazing people.