Princeton scholar re-elected as PEN president
NEW YORK — Author-scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah has been elected to a second one-year term as president of the PEN American Center.
In a statement released Wednesday by the literary and human rights organization, Appiah said he was proud of PEN’s support for Chinese author-activist Liu Xiaobo and other imprisoned writers, but also noted the difficult economic times and called for “a strategic review of all we do, so that PEN is even more ready for the challenges ahead.”
“It’s crucial in the current funding climate to make sure that we are putting our limited resources to the best possible use. I believe that if we do that we’ll be able to continue to grow our support, both human and financial,” he said.
In an e-mail sent Wednesday to The Associated Press, Appiah said there had been no layoffs at PEN, but that “it does look as though this year’s total income will be less than last year’s. So we continue to seek new support for the important work we are doing.”
Appiah and other board members at PEN, a not-for-profit organization, are not paid. Past PEN presidents include novelist Salman Rushdie and historian Ron Chernow.
Appiah was born in London in 1954 and was raised in Ghana. He has taught philosophy at Harvard University and Yale University and is currently on the faculty of Princeton University. He has written three novels, edited critical studies on Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes and other authors, and helped edit the Encarta Africana, a multimedia reference work on people of African descent.
According to PEN, Appiah is working on two books, “one about honor, and the other about the idea of the West.”