People queue outside a polling station in Cairo. (Goran Tomasevic/Retuers)

Al-Aswany helped found the Kefaya political movement, a grassroots coalition group that built a platform against corruption and stagnation in Egyptian politics. He has been critical of both the military and the Islamist leadership in the country, in keeping with the original spirit of the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. Besides writing op-eds on the revolution, Aswany is currently working on his new book, “The Automobile Club of Egypt,” which is expected to be released next year.

In his interview with Foreign Policy, Aswany said the revolution has changed Egyptians for the better.

Egyptians are no longer the Egyptians who were ruled by Mubarak. When you overcome the barrier of fear, you become a better person -- a much better person, as a matter of fact -- and it is irreversible.”

Al-Aswany is hardly the only Egyptian on the list. From Wael Ghonim to Tawakkol Karman, this year’s list is dominated by men and women from the Arab world who made headlines for their dissent and steadfast persistence to fight for the cause of a revolution.

View Photo Gallery: Foreign Policy magazine published its annual list of the “top 100 global thinkers,” which includes novelists, activists and heads of state from around the world.

The annual list also includes President Obama, and a handful of other heads of state, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. See the full list here.