Carnegie Unveils 2019 List of Great Immigrants

Each year, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a philanthropic foundation that promotes the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding, releases its list of Great Immigrants. This list honors a number of naturalized U.S. citizens, and helps to highlight the tremendous benefits immigration has brought to the United States.

Some of the 2019 Great Immigrants have been in the media spotlight for years. German-born Wolf Blitzer is a decorated journalist and staple of the CNN network. And, many Spanish speakers will recognize fellow journalist and Colombian-native, Ilia Calderón, who was awarded an Emmy for her work at Univision. Another familiar face who made the list is Peggy Chern, who was born in Myanmar. Chern is co-founder of the Panda Express fast-food chain and is now the second wealthiest immigrant in the United States. Baseball great Mariano Rivera also made the list. Born in Panama, Rivera is considered one of the best relief pitchers to ever take the mound, and he is the first person to ever be unanimously voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Most of the Carnegie’s Great Immigrants are less well known, but no less notable. Dina Katabi grew up in Syria before immigrating to the United States and becoming a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and being named a MacArthur Fellow. Katabi is revolutionizing wireless data transmission research, and helped to develop a device that could have terrific applications in the medical field. Another scientist who made the list is Gebisa Ejeta, a geneticist and professor at Purdue University. As a child growing up in Ethiopia, Ejeta would walk 12 miles to attend school. After moving to the United States, Ejeta went on to develop various strains of plants resistant to some of the harsh conditions encountered in many developing nations. Transplant surgeon Rahul M. Jindal also made the list. Raised in India, Jindal has been saving lives for decades, both in the U.S. and abroad. He has performed groundbreaking surgeries, led overseas medical missions, and is now organizing the Global Kidney Support Network to help kidney patients on a global level.

While their backgrounds and fields of achievement may differ, the men and women on Carnegie’s Great Immigrants list all have one thing in common – they have all lived out the American dream. In a country of immigrants, the scientists, athletes, artists, and entrepreneurs being honored by Carnegie exemplify what the United States can achieve by providing a welcoming home to immigrants from across the globe. [See July Fourth Tribute Honors 38 Distinguished Immigrants by Celeste Ford,, 27.Jun.2019.]


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