In a Time of Crisis, A Look at America's Best Leaders

The 2008 list from U.S. News and the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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If the election of Barack Obama showed anything, it's that America—at war and coping with a financial crisis—is hungry for leaders who inspire us. The nation's greatest leadership, however, does not come just from the most powerful office in the land but also from the worlds of science, education, art, and, even in this troubled economy, business. This year's crop of Best Leaders was chosen by a panel of judges convened by Harvard University's Center for Public Leadership. They are diverse, from the truly famous, such as filmmaker Steven Spielberg, to the less well known, like small-town doctor Regina Benjamin. Although she runs a tiny rural health clinic in Alabama, her work on primary-care medicine is international in scope. There's also the growing field of junior officers in the U.S. military—the lieutenants and captains who learned the true meaning of leadership under fire on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They all stand as models for a nation in troubled times.

PROFILES 2008

For more on the best leaders, click here.