- The annual list compiled by the philanthropic foundation recognizes naturalized citizens whose contributions and actions have enriched and strengthened our society and our democracy.
Model, actress and TV host Padma Lakshmi and Punit Renjen, Global CEO, Deloitte, are among 34 ‘Great Immigrants,’ honored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Each Fourth of July since 2006, the annual list compiled by the philanthropic foundation, recognizes naturalized citizens whose contributions and actions have enriched and strengthened our society and our democracy.
This year’s class is comprised of naturalized citizens from 32 countries and a wide range of backgrounds, the corporation says in a press release. This year’s immigrants have been” leaders in their local communities through their work in education, the arts, law enforcement, public service, health care, and small business ownership, as well as for their contributions as advocates for education equity, climate change, food security, and the homeless,” added the press release.
The 2022 honorees mark the 17th class, who will be recognized with a full-page public service announcement in the New York Times on the Fourth of July, as well as through tributes on social media.
Padma Lakshmi, is the creator, host, and executive producer of “Taste the Nation,” a Hulu series featuring food made by immigrant, indigenous, and Black communities — and the recent recipient of a James Beard Award. She is also a host and executive producer of “Top Chef” and a New York Times best-selling author who has published a memoir, cookbooks, and children’s book.
She is also a host and executive producer of Top Chef and a New York Times best-selling author who has published a memoir, cookbooks, and a children’s book. The former model is also a cofounder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America, an Artist Ambassador for immigrants’ rights for the ACLU, and a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program.
Through her shows and her culinary adventures, Lakshmi wants people to think about the origins and politics of what you consume.“We should understand the origins of our collective cuisine in this country,” she told CNN in a June 2020 interview, “because if you understand how food evolved in America, you understand how America evolved.”
Born in India, Lakshmi moved to the U.S. when she was four and frequently speaks out about immigrants’ rights. “I hope that in times of upheaval, and necessary uprising, food can be an example, a positive example of what’s great about immigration and what’s great about inclusivity and diversity and why we need all these different nationalities,” she told CNN. “To be able to offer them a haven and a chance at a better life will give us the ability to renew and refresh our economy and our culture. And we need that.”
Renjen grew up in India and was 18 years old when he came to the United States on a Rotary Foundation scholarship to attend Willamette University. That changed his life. In 2015, he became CEO of Deloitte Global, the first Asian-born person to lead one of the world’s biggest professional services firms. He was re-elected in 2019 He also serves on Deloitte’s global board of directors. Before his current role, Renjen served as the chairman of Deloitte LLP (Deloitte US) from 2011–2015. He also served as CEO of Deloitte Consulting from 2009 to 2011.
He was named Global Indian of the Year by the Economic Times in 2022, and two years before that he won the Oregon History Makers Medal in recognition of his business leadership. His name appears frequently on lists of top consultants and business leaders. He has served on the Willamette University board of trustees. The University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2019 and cited him as a distinguished alumnus.