4 Indian Americans are Featured on Carnegie’s 2024 List of Great Immigrants for ‘Pride of America Award’

The time of the year when the United States honors a handful of naturalized citizens with the “Pride of America Award” and felicitates them as “Great Immigrants of America” is back. Instituted in 2006 and sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the award recognizes their contributions to the socio-economic, socio-cultural, and scientific progress of America.

Carnegie’s 2024 list of Great Immigrants of America from 16 countries includes four India-born US citizens: Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee, Dr. Ashish Kumar Jha, social entrepreneur Premal Shah, and interfaith leader Eboo Patel. They will be inducted into the elite club of outstanding immigrants in the United States right after the America flag will be unfurled on the 4th of July.

Carnegie great immigrants 2024, Pride of America Award, Indian American community news

Dr. Ashish Kumar Jha

Dr. Ashish Kumar Jha hailing from the Indian state of Bihar, deserves the Pride of America Award as a great immigrants for his instrumental role in the US’ response to and preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, Dr. Jha is globally revered as a trusted guide and advisor to policymakers on major health crises. With an MD and a master’s degree in public health, he is a distinguished alumnus of Harvard University.

When the US was gasping for breath under the grips of COVID-19, President Biden roped in him as the White House’s Pandemic Response Coordinator. In that crucial role, he led the development of treatments and facilitated access to vaccines, in addition to scaling up testing and surveillance of the patients. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Ashish Jha hails from Madhubani, home to Mithila style of painting in the Indian state of Bihar. His parents had moved to Morris County, New Jersey in 1984. 

Nobel Laureate Dr. Abhijit Banerjee

One of the notable names on Carnegie’s 2024 list of Great Immigrants is Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, a leading economist and Nobel laureate, who needs no further introduction. His studies and strategies to alleviate global poverty have earned America a special place on the global stage. Among the Great Immigrants of America in 2024, Dr. Banerjee sits on the board of Save the Children USA, other than serving as the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at MIT.

Premal Shah, a Champion of Change

Premal Shah, a social entrepreneur from California, will be felicitated as one of the Great Immigrants of America this July 4, 2024. Born in Ahmedabad and raised in Minnesota, Premal has made a difference to low-scale entrepreneurs in developing countries including India by crowdfunding loans for them through his global poverty alleviation nonprofit, Kiva. Evidently, he earned the moniker ‘a Champion of Change’ from the White House in Barack Obama’s presidential regime.

Driven by his interest in microfinance, Premal Shah took a sabbatical from his service as product manager at PayPal in 2004 and took a flight to India where he developed a prototype on how peer-to-peer microlending drives rural economics. An alumnus of Stanford University, he also received a grant from the London School of Economics to study the microfinance-based businesses of self-employed women around the world.

Indian American Premal Shah, a board member of Change.org, was adjudged as one of the Young Global Leaders by World Economic Forum in 2009.     

Interfaith Leader Eboo Patel    

Among the four Indian Americans selected as Great Immigrants of the US in 2024 is Eboo Patel from Illinois. Born in Mumbai, he is the founder and president of Interfaith America, a Chicago-based nonprofit that works with public and private entities to promote cooperation among religions around the world. An avid proponent of interfaith harmony, he considers religious diversity as an essential aspect of American democracy.

Like Kala Bagai, Eboo Patel, as a young immigrant in the US, was bullied for his brown skin, Indian heritage, and Islamic faith. His experience of racism shaped him as an interfaith activist and an author of five books, including his autobiography titled ‘Acts of Faith’. As a Rhodes scholar, he earned a PhD in the sociology of religion from Oxford University. He was a member of former President Obama’s Inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-based Partnerships.

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