The American University of Rome (AUR) will confer honorary doctoral degrees.
The American University of Rome (AUR) will confer honorary doctoral degrees on Jhumpa Lahiri, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and Carlo Petrini, founder of the international Slow Food movement, during its annual commencement ceremony on May 25, 2023, at the Villa Aurelia in Rome. The two will receive AUR’s highest honor in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to their fields.
Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and grew up in Rhode Island. Her debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and The New Yorker Debut of the Year. Her novel The Namesake was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. It was also named one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, among others.
In December 2015, Lahiri published a nonfiction essay, “Teach Yourself Italian,” in The New Yorker, about her experience learning Italian. In the article, she declared that she would now only write in Italian. That same year, she published her first book in Italian, In altre parole, in which she wrote, “I waited a very long time to really go away from the world I knew. Rome has given me a sense of belonging.” In 2018, she published her first novel in Italian, Dove mi trovo. In 2019, she compiled, edited, and translated the Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories, consisting of 40 Italian short stories written by 40 Italian writers. She also recently published, to great acclaim, a volume of short stories entitled Racconti romani.
Carlo Petrini is an Italian activist, writer, and founder of the international Slow Food movement.
Formerly a political activist in the communist Proletarian Unity Party (Partito di Unità Proletaria; PdUP), in 1977, he began contributing culinary articles to the communist daily newspapers Il Manifesto and L’Unità. In 1983, he helped create and develop the Italian non-profit food and wine association known as Arcigola. He founded Slow Food in 1986 and became the organization’s president.
With the initial aim to “defend regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure, and a slow pace of life,” in almost three decades of history, the movement has evolved to embrace a comprehensive approach to food that recognizes the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics, and culture. Today Slow Food represents a global movement involving thousands of projects and millions of people in over 160 countries.
Petrini is an editor for multiple publications at the publishing house Slow Food Editore. He has written weekly columns for La Stampa and is a regular contributor to La Repubblica. In October 2004, he founded the University of Gastronomic Sciences, a university dedicated to new gastronomists and innovators of sustainable food systems.
Petrini has received numerous awards and acknowledgments, including Communicator of the Year at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London, the Sicco Mansholt Prize in the Netherlands, and the Eckart Witzigmann Science and Media Prize from Germany. In 2004 he was named one of Time magazine’s Heroes of the Year.