Indian American celebrity chef and Deloitte global CEO honored for enriching and strengthening society and democracy
Two Indian Americans, celebrity TV host and food expert Padma Lakshmi and Punit Renjen, global CEO of the professional services firm Deloitte are among those honored in Carnegie Corporation’s 2022 list of Great Immigrants.
The 2022 Class of Great Immigrants is comprised of naturalized citizens from 32 countries and a wide range of backgrounds “whose contributions and actions have enriched and strengthened our society and our democracy”
Since 2006, the Corporation has named nearly 700 Great Immigrants, forming one of the largest online databases of its type, according to a Carnegie 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.
“You might recognize @PadmaLakshmi from watching @bravotopchef or her @Hulu show, Taste the Nation, but #DYK the former model is also cofounder of @Endofound, an @ACLU Artist Ambassador for immigrants’ rights, and a @UNDP Goodwill Ambassador?” Carnegie Corporation tweeted.
“Thank you so much @CarnegieCorp!! As an immigrant, I’m so grateful for the life my mother provided for me in America. Congrats to everyone in the 2022 Class of #GreatImmigrants!” Lakshmi wrote.
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.
The former model is 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.
Born in India, Lakshmi moved to the US when she was four and frequently speaks out about immigrants’ rights.
Renjen grew up in India and came to the United States at 18 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.
Renjen 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. Renjen 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.
“Our Deloitte Global CEO, @PunitRenjen, has been recognized by the @CarnegieCorp as a remarkable American and a 2022 Great Immigrant! Thank you for making an #ImpactThatMatters at Deloitte, for our people, their communities and around the world!” Deloitte tweeted.
Citizenship is the ultimate goal of integration, and among the Corporation’s long-term priorities is encouraging eligible immigrants to naturalize, the release said.
For more than a decade, the Corporation, in collaboration with other philanthropic partners, has supported the New Americans Campaign, which is led by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, it said.
To date, the campaign and its national network of nonprofit partners have helped more than 540,000 lawful permanent residents (LPRs), known as green card holders, apply for citizenship.
There were 9.2 million LPRs eligible to naturalize in 2021, according to a recent report from the US Department of Homeland Security cited by the Carnegie Corporation. The Great Immigrants campaign aims to raise awareness among LPRs, the general public, and policymakers, it said.
“Our Great Immigrants Great Americans event each year is a reminder of the proven economic and societal benefits of encouraging immigrants to seek citizenship and become actively involved in our democracy,” said Geri Mannion, managing director of the Corporation’s Strengthening US Democracy program and a naturalized citizen of Irish descent.