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Noah M. Pickus
Associate Research Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Associate Research Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Areas of Expertise


Ph.D., Princeton University (1995)
M.A., Princeton University (1990)
B.A., Wesleyan University (1986)


Noah Pickus is the director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and also teaches in the Sanford School of Public Policy. He is also a Senior Policy Advisor to the Arbor Group, consultants to innovation-driven companies and communities. Prior to joining the Kenan Institute, he was the founding director of the Institute for Emerging Issues.

At the Kenan Institute, Pickus’s portfolio includes the Institute’s business ethics program, Ethics at Work, Transforming the Ethical Cultures of Institutions, a university-wide research initiative, and the Institute’s Graduate Colloquium in Ethics. Pickus writes extensively on issues of immigration, citizenship, and national identity and has advised the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Smith-Richardson Foundation and other public and private organizations.

Pickus’s book, True Faith and Allegiance: Immigration and American Civic Nationalism (Princeton University Press, September 2005), is a provocative account of nationalism and the politics of turnings immigrants into citizens and Americans. He argues for a renewed American identity that tempers polarized positions on immigration and citizenship. Peter Schuck of the Yale Law School describes this work as “a rare combination of lofty ideals, careful analysis, and practical reformism.”

Previous publications include: "Becoming American/America Becoming" a report that Edward Grant, former Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Immigration, praised for “pointedly examining whether immigration should be welcomed as a means to transform the American polity or be managed to ensure that core values and traditions that are the foundation of that polity are preserved”; and Immigration and Citizenship in the 21st Century a volume that William Galston, former Deputy Assistant to President Clinton for Domestic Policy, commended for “illuminating the basic issues that a 21st century immigration and naturalization policy will have to address.”

Pickus has written for the National Journal, The Responsive Community, The Claremont Review of Books, Freedom Review, and the Center for Immigration Studies, and provided commentary for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and other national media. He received his Ph.D from Princeton University and has held fellowships from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the A.W. Mellon Foundation, and the H.B. Earhart Foundation.

Representative Publications