World Bank President Ajay Banga has been named to this year’s “Great Immigrants” list by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which honors contributions by immigrants to American life.
Indian-American Banga, who became the 14th president of the top bank this year, was among 35 honorees from diverse backgrounds and fields whose contributions and actions enriched and strengthened American society and democracy.
From India, he is the only honouree in the prestigious Carnegie list, which has named more than 700 “Great Immigrants” since 2006.
With over 30 years of experience in key positions, Banga is expected to usher in transformative policies at the World Bank to combat poverty and address climate change, opening opportunities for people around the globe, a Carnegie statement said on Wednesday.
“We need to find ways to embrace the value and talent immigrants have to offer — not the least of which is their diversity. Their diverse perspectives and experiences make us stronger,” Banga was quoted as saying in the statement.
Earlier this month,Banga became the new president of the World Bank, the first-ever Indian American to lead the institution.
He started his career in India, spending 13 years at Nestle India and two at PepsiCo, and in 1996, he joined Citigroup, eventually leading the Asia-Pacific region as CEO.
Later moving to the US, he served as President and CEO of Mastercard for 12 years before being named executive chairman.
Among numerous honors, he was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal, Padma Shri and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
The Class of 2023 Great Immigrants has individuals from 33 countries, who, according to the Corporation, “have fostered opportunities for others through their work as educators, mentors, philanthropists, job creators, public servants, storytellers, and advocates”.
“The 35 naturalized citizens honored today embody that tradition, reminding us that the contributions of immigrants make our country more vibrant and our democracy more resilient,” said Dame Louise Richardson, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, and a naturalized citizen who first came to the US from Ireland as a graduate student.
Other honorees in the list are esteemed leaders in their fields, including two Nobel Prize laureates, an Olympian, a member of Congress, a university president, a public theologian and immigration advocate.
It also includes celebrities such Elle magazine editor-in-chief and TV personality Nina Garcia, bestselling novelist Min Jin Lee, seven-time Grammy Award winner Alanis Morissette, Hollywood star Pedro Pascal, and Academy Award winner Ke Huy Quan.