Appiah book wins international affairs award

May 17, 2007, 4:52 p.m.

"Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers," by Princeton's Kwame Anthony Appiah, has won the Council on Foreign Relations' sixth annual Arthur Ross Book Award for the best book published in the past two years on international affairs.

Appiah, the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values, will receive $25,000 and be honored at the council in June.

The book, published by W.W. Norton in 2006, outlines Appiah's conception of the ancient philosophy of cosmopolitanism -- being "citizens of the world" -- and the potential this philosophy has to usher in a new era of global understanding. It emphasizes conversation -- literal talk, but also engagement with the experience and ideas of others -- across boundaries of identity.

"Appiah provides a philosopher's perspective on what ought to be the ethical concerns permeating U.S. policy in today's fractious world," said Foreign Affairs Editor James F. Hoge, who chaired the selection committee. "From historical experiences and his own trenchant thinking, he draws lessons for creating a tolerant and humanistic international environment."

A Princeton faculty member since 2002, Appiah is an internationally renowned scholar of moral and political philosophy, African and African-American studies, and issues of personal and political identity, multiculturalism and nationalism.

The Arthur Ross Book Award honors nonfiction works that merit special attention for: bringing forth new information that changes our understanding of events or problems; developing analytical approaches that allow new and different insights into critical issues; or providing new ideas that help resolve foreign policy problems.