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The eighth annual TIME 100 Gala saw all those nominated to the list of the magazine's 100 Most Influential People gather under one roof - the Lincoln Centre in New York City. The attendees were from all five categories of the list - Breakouts, Pioneers, Moguls, Leaders and Icons.

The function was kick-started by Rick Stengel, TIME's Managing Editor, who said the core mission of the TIME 100 was to give a louder voice to those already changing the world. He began by introducing the United States Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, pointing out that her influence on people grew every year. The Secretary then took over and called for America to take the responsibility of a new world.

"Welcome to my announcement to run for president of Malta. We needed to change the way we do business top to bottom. We call that smart power. America's global leadership is not a birthright. It has to be earned by every successive generation. We will continue to do so because we must. It's in our DNA," Clinton said; the full text of her speech is here.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Dolan of the Roman Catholic Church presented the star of the evening, New York Knick's Jeremy Lin - the Most Influential Person in the World - with the toast.

"My name is Timothy 'Cardinal' Tebow. I had the pleasure to sit with Jeremy Lin. I asked him to pass me a roll and it's still flying around the room somewhere," the Cardinal joked.

On a more serious note, Lin spoke of his humbly accepting the award.

"I feel like it's a real blessing from God. I'll work on getting it to him," Lin said to New York Daily News.

According to TIME, this year's gala was a meditation on and examination of America's place in the world, a sweeping discussion of US education and a tribute to those figures who most greatly influenced the honorees.

Finally, another celebrity in the limelight was singer Rihanna, who came dressed in a "hot pink Vivienne Westwood frock with diamante heels". She was surprised at the event by her mother; although the singer did admit to being a little embarrassed when she cracked a joke about actor Ashton Kutcher, to whom Rihanna has been romantically linked.

"Mumz surprised me for #TIME100.Well.... 2nt consisted of us singing Bob Marley, drinking Vintage Scotch, and my mom thinking a joke about Kutcher was appropriate!#Thxtime100," tweeted Rihanna.