Four Great Immigrants of Indian origin in 2024 class of Carnegie Corp


Courtesy Carnegie

Our Bureau

New York, NY

Every Fourth of July, Carnegie Corporation of New York celebrates remarkable Americans — all naturalized citizens — who have enriched and strengthened the democracy in the US through their actions and contributions. The 2024 Class of Great Immigrants comprises citizens from 16 countries, including four Indian Americans.

The four Indian Americans who are being honored include Abhijit Banerjee, Dr. Ashish Kumar Jha, Eboo Patel, Premal Shah and. All the honorees represent a wide range of backgrounds and are recognized for their work in public service, education, health, journalism, the arts, and business, among other fields.

Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics, MIT, and Nobel Prize Laureate

Born in Mumbai, India, he came to the United States to pursue a PhD in economics at Harvard University, which he completed in 1988. In 2003, Banerjee cofounded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT, a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. 

Banerjee is the coauthor (with Duflo) of Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011), which won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, and Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems (2019).

Ashish Kumar Jha, Dean, School of Public Health, Brown University

Born in Pursaulia, Bihar, India, he came to the United States in 1983. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Columbia University and both an MD and a master’s degree in public health at Harvard University.

A practicing physician and global leader in public health research, Jha is known as a source of trusted information and guidance to policymakers around the world. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, one of Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” and a recipient of the John Jay Award from Columbia University.

President Joe Biden appointed Jha as the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator in March 2022.

Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith America

Born in Mumbai, India, Eboo Patel, an Ismaili Muslim of Gujarati Indian heritage, is the founder and president of Interfaith America. This Chicago-based nonprofit, started as Interfaith Youth Core by Patel at age 22, works with governments, universities, private companies, and civic organizations to promote cooperation across religious differences.

He served on President Obama’s Inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and received the National Conflict Resolution Center’s 2024 National Peacemaker Award. He is the author of five books, including Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation (2007), which won the Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Premal Shah, Social Entrepreneur and Cofounder, Kiva

Born in India, he grew up in Minnesota. After attending Stanford University and working for PayPal, he cofounded Kiva — a global poverty alleviation nonprofit that has raised over $2 billion for low-income entrepreneurs in 150 countries. He was named a Champion of Change by the Obama White House and one of Fortune magazine’s “40 Under 40.”

Kiva (the Swahili word for unity) provides more than 1.7 billion unbanked people around the world with the financial services they need, by crowdfunding loans from small donors to entrepreneurs. 8 in 10 loans go to women, and the repayment rate is 96 percent.

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