Who’s the most influential person in your life? What’s the most influential book you’ve ever read? What’s your greatest weakness/strength? If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Everyone has, at some point in time, had to answer a question like one of these. If you haven’t, don’t fret it’s coming. They pop up on job interviews, internship applications, college applications and so many other questionnaires that will attempt to pinpoint your unique, indescribable character in words.
Well, have no fear; I’ve taken care of one of these questions for you. Here is a list of 5 influential people you should consider having dinner with.
1. Malala Yousafzai
Not only is this girl intelligent, but she is brave. While the Taliban continued to control the Swat district of northern Pakistan, Malala spoke out about the importance of female education amidst death threats and violence. She received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. It was after this that the leaders of the Taliban voted to kill her for her public stance on female rights. In 2012, at age 15, Malala was shot on her way to school. She survived and sparked a movement across Pakistan that resulted in a ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill (The Malala Fund). What have you done?
2. Leonardo da Vinci
Now I may be biased about this one given that I'm an art history major, BUT this means I know how important da Vinci was to the development and advancement of technology, science AND art as we know it to be today. The mystery surrounding da Vinci should be enough to pique the interest of anyone, but there is so much more that he could offer to a dinner conversation. To finally be able to ask him what the secret is behind Mona Lisa's smile. Who was she really? To talk to him about his dissection of human bodies to study their organs, muscles, tendons, etc., and his ability to sketch detailed images that were almost anatomically perfect. Did you know he was designing airplanes and flying mechanisms too? In the late 1400s? This man was, and still is, one of the smartest, most innovative thinkers of our world. I'm not even sure if I could hold a conversation with him but, boy would I like to try.
3. Iris Apfel
This woman is on this list for what may seem like a different reason. A conversation with Iris would be the greatest lesson on living your life and being yourself. At 93, she is a fashion icon, standing as the face of brands like Kate Spade and Alexis Bittar (these are big names if you didn't know). Now, I'm not super into brand names or the fashion world but, this woman is a prime example of what it means to know yourself. She does not give a rat's tail about what anyone thinks and a dinner with her could be beneficial for a lot of people in our society today... just saying.
4. Sigmund Freud
A dinner with Freud might take months of preparation. I mean, brace yourself. He might spend the whole time psychoanalyzing you, but with that said, how cool would it be to pick the mind of the man who essentially invented the practice of picking the mind? This conversation wouldn't be for the faint of heart, what with the libido, the ego, and everything that Freud says the mind encompasses. Just giving you a warning.
5. Pope Francis
Forget your religious affiliation. Don't you want to talk to the man who so gracefully handled the beginning of the modernization of the Catholic church? I would love to spend time with the man who has achieved such an admirable balance between his beliefs and the diversity of beliefs in our world, while maintaining a genuine love for mankind regardless of these differences. This is something that, especially given current events, many people need to hear; a lesson on love, forgiveness, and kindness. Things such as these transcend religion and Pope Francis is a perfect example of that.