But at the award ceremony Monday night at Carnegie Hall, no one drew greater cheers than Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani education activist.
Malala told the crowd that the pen was much mightier than the gun. Shot in the head by the Taliban a year ago, she has recovered and has risen to global prominence in her campaign for girls' education.
The evening's most flamboyant honoree was pop star Lady Gaga.
Also appearing was former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who along with retired astronaut husband Mark Kelly won the Couple of the Year award for their work on gun safety. And Barbra Streisand won the Lifetime Achievement award.