New York University’s Kwame Anthony Appiah has been named by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as one of its 2017 “Great Immigrants.”

Kwame Anthony Appiah, NYU Philosopher, Named “Great Immigrant”
NYU's Kwame Anthony Appiah has been named by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as one of its 2017 “Great Immigrants.”

New York University’s Kwame Anthony Appiah has been named by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as one of its 2017 “Great Immigrants.”

Appiah, who has appointments in NYU’s Department of Philosophy and School of Law, also teaches at the university’s global sites. He was born in London and grew up in Ghana.

A renowned philosopher whose scholarship spans a range of academic disciplines, Appiah has published in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, political theory, moral philosophy, and African and African-American literary and cultural studies. His prize-winning books include The Ethics of Identity and Cosmopolitanism; with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., he is the editor of Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience. And he writes regularly as “The Ethicist” in the New York Times Magazine.

NYU President Andrew Hamilton said, “We are very proud of our colleague, Anthony Appiah; this is fitting recognition for his achievements and his many contributions to the intellectual life of the U.S. But this year, far more than most others, this honor carries a special weight—as we debate the United States’ engagement with the world, it is a powerful reminder of just how enormously our nation benefits from those who come here to teach and work and share their knowledge. And, speaking as someone who was educated in three countries and pursued his career in a fourth, it is a reminder, too, that higher learning is global in nature—it always has been, and it always will be.”


NYU's Kwame Anthony Appiah

NYU Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah. Image courtesy of Princeton University, Office of Communications, Denise Applewhite

Appiah’s current work centers on the ways philosophical problems of identity and individuality are manifested in law, which he sees as a key question about the philosophical foundations of liberalism; he is also exploring how we arrive at knowledge about values, the nature of religion, and the connection between theory and practice in moral life.

Since 2006, the Carnegie Corporation has recognized the contributions of highly distinguished naturalized citizens such as Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Junot Díaz, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Johns Hopkins University president Ron Daniels, and designer Diane von Furstenberg as well as numerous Nobel Prize winners, entrepreneurs, judges, politicians, entertainers, and athletes.

This year’s other “Great Immigrants” include: actor Anthony Hopkins, Thai Lee, president and CEO of SHI International Corporation, Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen, and U.S. Representative Norma Torres, among others.

Appiah has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and, in 2008, was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has served as president of the PEN American Center and of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, as well as a trustee of the National Humanities Center and as a past board chair of the American Philosophical Association. He currently serves on the boards of the New York Public Library and the Public Theater.

Among his many honors, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2012, and Color Conscious, which he wrote with University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, won the Ralph J. Bunche Award of the American Political Science Association. He is also the recipient of the Herskovits Award of the African Studies Association for his book In My Father’s House and the Arthur Ross Award of the Council of Foreign Affairs for Cosmopolitanism as well as the Joseph B. and Toby Glitter Prize from Brandeis University in recognition of his contributions to racial, ethnic, and religious relations. He is the recipient of numerous honorary doctoral degrees.

Prior to coming to NYU, Appiah taught at Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and the University of Ghana. He attended Cambridge University, where he received a Ph.D. in philosophy.

Editor’s Note:

Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the world’s foremost research universities and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. NYU has degree-granting university campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai; has eleven other global academic sites, including London, Paris, Florence, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Accra; and sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas. 

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