Time bills their annual list as the "people who most affect our world."
And while the magazine's 100 most-influential announced Thursday contains some typical big names, it's hard to find many who have directly impacted those in the most desperate of need than Rahul Singh.
President Obama and Lady GaGa may grab the most headlines for their inclusion — but the Canadian paramedic has been affecting the world of thousands of people for more than a decade.
As the founder of GlobalMedic, Singh helps to coordinate disaster relief efforts. Since its inception in 1998, the group has offered aid in disaster zones across the world, most recently in Haiti following the January earthquake.
"When I first heard I was nominated, I thought it was a practical joke," Singh said. "As a 20-year-medic, you don't fool for things easily. When you look at the list, there are world leaders there, some really huge names."
GlobalMedic is a registered Canadian charity and the operational arm of the David McAntony Gibson Foundation. Singh set up the foundation to honor the name of his best friend, who passed away in 1998.
Relief teams are staffed by paramedics, police officers and firefighters who volunteer their time and expertise for the cause, delivering their skills and aid to people in the wake of natural disasters and complex emergencies.
Haiti Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told Time Singh — who was listed under the "Heroes" category — was a "shining example of the selfless effort" of those who came to came to Haiti's rescue in its time of dire need.
Singh himself led a group of volunteers in Port-au-Prince following the devastating earthquake to provide clean drinking water and medical aid wherever it was needed.
Over an eight-week period, they distributed 2.4 million gallons of clean water, and the organization's two inflatable field hospitals brought medical assistance to more than 7,000 people.
In addition, they helped train a local team of Haitians so they are able to build upon their initial work.
"By providing these three essentials: medical aid, water and training, they have left a lasting contribution to a grateful Haitian population," wrote Prime Minister Bellerive.
Singh said the award was not a personal accolade, rather a recognition of the entire organization and its staff. "This is for the agency, for the thousands of emergency workers that go into disasters and save lives," he said.
"I think this will help open some more doors for us and raise awareness of what we do."
Singh remains a full-time paramedic with the City of Toronto, and said he was bracing himself for some good-natured banter from his colleagues when they learn of his inclusion on the list.
"Most of them will be pretty cool about it — but I know there's going to be a few jokes at my expense," he said.
Time's list, now in its seventh year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world's most influential individuals.
"The Time 100 is not a list of the most powerful people in the world, it's not a list of the smartest people in the world, it's a list of the most influential people in the world," Time Managing Editor Rick Stengel has said of the list in the past.