It would be easy to look back on 2015 as a year filled with conflict, aggression and some truly horrible events. But from challenge comes resilience and persistence, optimism and energy.
These are qualities that Mamamia’s Men of the Year have in spades.
Here they are, in no particular order.
Peter Greste started 2015 in an Egyptian prison on trial for doing his job. Freed, but not off the hook, in February Greste came home and began a long and unwavering campaign to fight for the freedom of his Al Jazeera colleagues and for his own charges to be dismissed.
At the same time, he spoke out for press freedom around the world, and challenged the federal government directly on its plans for increased data surveillance and a lack of transparency in offshore detention centres.
In September while filming a television segment, Greste learned his colleague Mohamed Fahmy had been pardoned. His response was caught on film and is one of the loveliest things you’ll ever see.
Already well known for his sharp and thoughtful commentary, lawyer, academic and co-host of The Project Waleed Aly spent 2015 leading national opinion on issues including laws that could silence critics of the Federal Government’s refugee policy, terrorism and climate change.
Following the Paris terror attacks in November, Aly delivered an editorial from the desk of The Project that was shared around the world. It was hailed as the speech the Prime Minister should have given, and called on Australians to unite against ISIS.
In December Aly proved he was a man of many talents, shredding a Pink Floyd classic at the 2015 Walkley Awards.
In 2015 Australian Rules Football farewelled one of the greats of the game. Unfortunately, the treatment of Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes in his final year playing was not something that AFL audiences should be proud of.
The former Australian of the Year spent the bulk of the 2015 season being booed by AFL “fans” from rival clubs, and subject to a raging debate about whether those boos were racist or not. Eventually the controversy forced him from the field.
But like the two-time Brownlow-medal-winning champion Goodes is, the on-field drama never stopped him from supporting some of the most important causes in Australia today, including the push for Indigenous recognition in the consitution, and the campaign to stop violence against women.
2015 might not have been kind to Adam Goodes, but Goodes rose above and continued to inspire and lead.
Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau swept to power late in 2015, but he has already made a significant impression on the world, not just his home nation.