Appiah Named Next President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters


Kwame Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy and law at New York University, has been elected president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The aim of the Academy, “an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers,” is “to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts.” It does so by, among other things, “administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country.”

Professor Appiah is known for philosophical work spanning a range of topics in moral and political philosophy, philosophy of race, identity, and culture (and was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2011). He has also been recognized for his service in a variety of contexts to the philosophical profession (for which he won the Quinn Prize in 2020). Notably, Professor Appiah has been very active outside of academic philosophy, too, as the ethics columnist for The New York Times Magazine, as chair of the Man Booker Prize Committee, juror for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the Pulitzer Prize (non-fiction), board chair of the American Council of Learned Societies, member of the Advisory Board for the United Nations Democracy Fund, and member of the New York Public Library Board, to name but a few examples.

Professor Appiah, who announced this news on Twitter, will succeed the current president, architect Billie Tsien, in February, and hold the position for a three-year term.


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Tom Leddy
Tom Leddy
3 months ago

This is great!

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Beau Madison Mount
3 months ago

An absolutely superb choice for the post.Report