July Fourth Tribute Honors 38 Distinguished Immigrants

Carnegie Corporation of New York, established by Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie, thanks naturalized citizens who make America strong.

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New York, NY, June 29, 2017––Carnegie Corporation of New York, its board of trustees and staff, invite Americans to celebrate naturalized U.S. citizens with its annual Great Immigrants tribute. The philanthropic foundation today announced the 38 individuals who will be honored on the Fourth of July when the Corporation salutes the invaluable role that immigrants play in helping to advance our society, culture, and economy.

Each year since 2006, the Corporation has recognized the contributions of naturalized citizens, and for 2017, the honorees represent more than 30 different countries of origin, a wide range of personal immigration stories, and a high level of professional leadership in numerous fields.

Among this year’s Great Immigrants:

  • Jeff Skoll Social entrepreneur, founder and chairman, Skoll Foundation, and 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy recipient
  • Max Levchin PayPal cofounder
  • Do Won Chang Forever 21 cofounder                                                                              
  • Ilhan Omar and Norma Torres state and federal legislators                                          
  • Abdul K. Kallon U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama judge      
  • Ángel Cabrera George Mason University president
  • Daron Acemoglu 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellow                                                            
  • Oliver Hart, Daniel Kahneman, J. Michael Kosterlitz, Andrew Schally, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, and David Thouless Nobel Prize winners
  • Việt Thanh Nguyễn Pulitzer Prize winner 
  • Masha Gessen and Ayman Mohyeldin Journalists
  • Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson, Morena Baccarin Actors

“Our annual tribute to Great Immigrants demonstrates the richness of talent, skills, and achievements that immigrants from around the world bring to every sphere of American society,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “This campaign reminds us of the debt the United States owes to generations of immigrants who become citizens and contribute to the progress of this country. Today, we celebrate and thank them.”

The honorees will be recognized with a full-page public service announcement in The New York Times on the Fourth of July and an online public awareness initiative, including quotes and video interviews with naturalized citizens such as chef and past honoree José Andrés, data on the legal benefits of naturalization, a citizenship quiz, and free resources for prospective applicants.

Nearly nine million lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are currently eligible to naturalize and become U.S. citizens. In keeping with the mission of our founder, Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie, the Corporation is committed to the integration of immigrants with the goal of helping them become citizens who can participate fully in our democracy. Together with grantees and partner organizations, the Great Immigrants initiative works to raise awareness about the naturalization process and to provide assistance to LPRs, including the free online application system Citizenshipworks. Carnegie Corporation also supports the New Americans Campaign, the nation’s largest network of nonprofits focused on naturalization.

Learn about the Great Immigrants and how to become a naturalized citizen with more information and updates posted on Facebook and on Twitter @CarnegieCorp #GreatImmigrants.

The 2017 Great Immigrants and their countries of origin:

  • Daron Acemoglu Professor of economics, MIT; 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellow (Turkey)
  • Hushang Ansary Statesman, philanthropist, and entrepreneur (Iran)
  • Kwame Anthony Appiah National Humanities Medal awardee and professor of philosophy and law, New York University (Ghana)
  • Morena Baccarin Emmy–nominated actress (Brazil)
  • Ángel Cabrera President, George Mason University (Spain)
  • Do Won Chang Cofounder and CEO, Forever 21 (South Korea)
  • Graciela Chichilnisky Professor of economics and statistics, Columbia University; key contributor to Kyoto Protocol (Argentina)
  • Ralph de la Vega Former vice chairman, AT&T (Cuba)
  • Eric Gertler Cochairman & copublisher, New York Daily News; and cochairman, U.S. News & World Report (Canada)
  • Masha Gessen Author and journalist, 2015 Andrew Carnegie Fellow (Russia)
  • Suheir Hammad American Book Award–winning poet and performer (Jordan)
  • Oliver Hart Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and professor, Harvard University (England)
  • Anthony Hopkins Academy Award–winning actor (Wales)
  • Daniel Kahneman Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner and professor emeritus, Princeton University (Israel)
  • Abdul K. Kallon Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (Sierra Leone)
  • J. Michael Kosterlitz Nobel Prize winner in physics and professor, Brown University (Scotland)
  • Thai Lee President and CEO, SHI International Corporation (Thailand)
  • Douglas Leone Venture capitalist and global managing partner, Sequoia Capital (Italy)
  • Max Levchin CEO, Affirm; and cofounder, PayPal (Ukraine)
  • Margaret H. Marshall Chief justice (retired), Massachusetts Supreme Court; and senior counsel, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP (South Africa)
  • Nergis Mavalvala Professor of astrophysics, MIT; 2010 MacArthur Fellow (Pakistan)
  • Ayman Mohyeldin Journalist, NBC News (Egypt)
  • Vivek H. Murthy 19th U.S. Surgeon General (England)
  • Shantanu Narayen Chairman, president, and CEO, Adobe Systems Incorporated (India)
  • Liam Neeson Academy Award–nominated actor (Northern Ireland)
  • Thuy Thi Nguyen President, Foothill College (Vietnam)
  • Việt Thanh Nguyễn Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist and professor, University of Southern California (Vietnam)
  • Chinelo Okparanta Award-winning author and professor of creative writing, Bucknell University (Nigeria)
  • Ilhan Omar Representative, Minnesota House of Representatives, District 60B (Somalia)
  • Eren Ozmen Owner and president, Sierra Nevada Corporation (Turkey)
  • Zainab Salbi Humanitarian, entrepreneur, author, and founder, Women for Women International (Iraq)
  • Andrew V. Schally Nobel Prize winner in medicine and distinguished professor, University of Miami (Poland)
  • Jeff Skoll Founder and chairman of the Skoll Foundation, 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy honoree (Canada)
  • Sir J. Fraser Stoddart Nobel Prize winner in chemistry and professor, Northwestern University (Scotland)
  • David Thouless Nobel Prize winner in physics and professor emeritus, University of Washington (Scotland)
  • Norma Torres U.S. Representative, 35th District, California (Guatemala)
  • Rainer Weiss Winner, Einstein Prize and Kavli Prize in Astrophysics, and professor emeritus of physics, MIT (Germany)
  • Feng Zhang Genomics pioneer and professor of neuroscience, MIT and Broad Institute (China)


About Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation's agenda focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and a strong democracy.