Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jonas Mekas

Country of origin: Lithuania
Jonas Mekas (Lithuanian pronunciation: [ˈjonɐs ˈmækɐs]; born December 24, 1922) is a Lithuanian-born American filmmaker, writer, and curator who has often been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema." His work has been exhibited in museums and festivals across Europe and America.
To find out more about Jonas Mekas, visit his page at Wikipedia, or his website.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Manu Tupou

Country of origin: Fiji
Manu Tupou (January 5, 1935 - June 5, 2004) was an American-based Fijian actor, writer, director, and teacher.
To read more about Manu Tupou, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Laura Mersini-Houghton

Country of origin: Albania
Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton (née Laura Mersini) is a theoretical physicist-cosmologist and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since January 2004. Laura Mersini-Houghton received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tirana, Albania, her M.Sc. from the University of Maryland and was awarded a PhD in 2000 by the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
To read more about Laura Mersini-Houghton,visit her page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vladimir Četkar

Country of origin: Macedonia
Vladimir Četkar (Macedonian: Владимир Четкар) is a Macedonian multi-talented professional musician, according to his official website. Vladimir is a composer, arranger and conductor, vocalist and guitarist. He was born in Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia where, in his childhood, he played the violin. He was greatly influenced by such jazz, funk, soul and disco bands and musicians as Change, Chic, Earth Wind and Fire, Patrice Rushen, Cameo, The Brothers Johnson, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Quincy Jones, Jamiroquai and many more. Later in life, Vladimir came to the United States to attend Berklee College of Music. There, he focused on contemporary writing and production with the jazz guitar as his main instrument.
To read more about Vladimir Četkar, see the rest of his page on Wikipedia, or his website.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Franjo Vlašić

Country of origin: Croatia
Vlasic Pickles originally grew out of a Detroit creamery and fresh pickle business begun by Croatian immigrant Franjo Vlašić, and then continued by his son Joe in the 1920s. Initially the pickles were sold in large barrels, but according to the official Vlasic Pickles website, Joe and his son Bob invented the concept of packaging pickles in small glass jars in 1942 when the Vlasic Pickle brand was officially born. The business rapidly expanded in the post-war years, corresponding with growth in per capita pickle consumption.
Above from the Wikipedia article for Vlasic Pickles.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Immigrants Started Half Of Top U.S. Startups

Read the story here.

Brenda Casten

Country of origin: Mexico
FORT COLLINS - Brenda Casten might have to leave the only country she's ever known in order to legally live in it. But doing that could potentially threaten her life. Casten, a 24-year-old Fort Collins resident with three children, has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. She has received chemotherapy for the aggressive disease but may need a bone marrow transplant if she is to overcome it. But Casten, who has lived in the United States since she was 2 years old, is not a citizen. She spent part of her childhood in Colorado's foster care system, she said, but the paperwork that would have established her citizenship was never filed.
To read more about Brenda Casten, see the rest of the article here.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Immigrants mix old and new for first Christmas in America

Countries of origin: Thailand, Iraq and Haiti
Today I am going to feature three immigrant families from an article posted last year:
For as long as they can remember, Pau Pau and Memory Paw have celebrated Christmas inside refugee camps in Thailand, cobbling together a communal meal of rice and curry — with some chicken if they were lucky.
It’s been nearly a year since an earthquake killed and injured hundreds of thousands of Haitians and left a million homeless, but images from Jan. 12 still haunt Josiane Sylvain.
Ramzi Saka and his family — Catholics who say they felt threatened by Iraq’s Baath party — ... fled the country and landed briefly in Lebanon en route to the United States.
To read the rest of their amazing stories, see the entire article here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

August Imgard

Country of origin: Germany
German settler, August Imgard, was said to have put up the first Christmas tree in Ohio and possibly first in the nation in 1847 ...[as well as] sugar "crooks" (candy canes)
[Also he] had the local tinsmith pound out a metal star for his spruce, where it was placed alongside paper decorations.
From here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thomas Nast

Country of origin: Germany
Thomas Nast (September 27, 1840 – December 7, 1902) was a German-born American caricaturist and editorial cartoonist who is considered to be the "Father of the American Cartoon". He was the scourge of Boss Tweed and the Tammany Hall machine. Among his notable works were the creation of the modern version of Santa Claus, and Uncle Sam (the male personification of the American people), as well as the political symbols of both major United States political parties: the Republican elephant and the Democratic donkey.
Read the rest of the Wikipedia article here, or his biography (with gallery) here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

George N. Perazich

Country of origin: Montenegro
George N. Perazich (20 April 1905–26 May 1999) was born in Montenegro. Perazich attended the University of California Engineering School for five years and also attended Wharton School of Finance in Pennsylvania. Perazich married his wife Amelia in 1933. Apart from his maternal language he spoke and wrote English and Italian and had a reading knowledge of Spanish, French and Russian. Perazich had been active the American Polish Labor Council as Business manager of its publication The Outlook. Perazich became a naturalized American citizen in 1942.
To read more about George N. Perazich, see his Wikipedia page here, or this New York Times article.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ray Buttigieg

Country of origin: Malta
Ray Buttigieg (born May 1, 1955 in Gozo, Malta) is a poet and musician. He attended Qala primary school, then the Lyceum in Victoria, Gozo. He then moved to the United States and continued his studies in New York, where he settled permanently. By the age of 20 he had several poems published in anthologies in London and New York City.
To read more about Ray Buttigieg, visit his page at Wikipedia.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ciprian Manolescu

Country of origin: Romania
Ciprian Manolescu (born December 24, 1978) is a Romanian mathematician. He is presently an Associate Professor in the mathematics department at the University of California, Los Angeles.
To read more about Ciprian Manolescu, visit his Wikipedia page, or his page at UCLA.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Peter Chung

Country of origin: South Korea
Peter Kunshik Chung (born April 19, 1961 in Seoul, South Korea, as 정건식 (Chung Geun-sik, or alternative spelling Jeong Geun-Sik) is a Korean American animator. He is best known for his unique style of animation, as the creator and director of Æon Flux, which ran as shorts on MTV's Liquid Television before launching as its own half-hour television series.
To read more about Peter Chung, visit his page on Wikipedia.

New Report: Immigration and American Jobs

Read it here

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fariba Nawa

Country of origin: Afghanistan
Fariba Nawa (born 1973) is an Afghan-American freelance journalist who grew up in both Herat and Lashgargah in Afghanistan as well as Fremont, California. She was born in Herat, Afghanistan to a native Afghan family. Her family fled the country during the Soviet invasion in the 1980s. She is trilingual in Persian, Arabic, and English. In 2000 she ventured into Taliban controlled Afghanistan by sneaking into the country through Iran.
To read more about Fariba Nawa, visit her page on Wikipedia, or see her biography on her website.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Khaled Hosseini

Country of origin: Afghanistan
Khaled Hosseini (Persian: خالد حسینی [ˈxɒled hoˈsejni]; English: /ˈhɑːlɛd hoʊˈseɪni/; born March 4, 1965), is an Afghan-born American novelist and physician of ethnic Tajik origin. He is a citizen of the United States where he has lived since he was fifteen years old. His 2003 debut novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller, selling more than 12 million copies worldwide. His second, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was released on May 22, 2007. In 2008, the book was the bestselling novel in Britain (as of April 11, 2008), with more than 700,000 copies sold.
To read more about Khaled Hosseini, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nazif Shahrani

Country of origin: Afghanistan
M. Nazif Shahrani is a professor of anthropology and of Central Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is an ethnic Uzbek from northern Afghanistan and is an American citizen.
To read more about Nazif Shahrani, visit his page on Wikipedia, or see his page here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sujata Massey

Country of origin: England
I was born in Sussex, England to a father from India and a mother from Germany. My name, Sujata, is pronounced sue-JAH-tah, and is taken from Buddhist history. Sujata was the young woman who served Buddha a bowl of rice or milk. (The food differs depending on the country where the legend is being told. Indians say rice, but Japanese go for milk, and a Japanese company called "Sujata" manufactures coffee creamer and ice cream! Japanese children usually sing an advertising jingle when they hear my name.) When I was five, my parents emigrated to the United States. I grew up in Philadelphia, PA; Berkeley, CA; and St. Paul, MN, making enough return trips to Europe and Asia that I never completely felt American. I have trouble answering the question of where I come from, but when push comes to shove, I became a U.S. citizen in 1998.
To read the rest of her biography, visit her website.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Adolfo Müller-Ury

Country of origin: Switzerland
Adolfo Muller-Ury (March 29, 1862 – July 6, 1947) was a Swiss-born American portrait painter and impressionistic painter of roses and still life.
Whilst in Paris in late 1884 he decided to visit America. He arrived first in Milwaukee, and then visited Chicago and St Paul, Minnesota where he had relatives. In 1885 he went to Baltimore to paint Cardinal James Gibbons for the first time and in 1886 completed a full-length portrait which was given to the Cardinal for his residence after being exhibited at Schaus's Gallery in New York (missing). At around this time he was travelling all over the eastern United States painting and executed a very large canvas of the Bushkill Falls in Pennsylvania (Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal, Germany). Luckily for the artist, his talent for portraiture was soon noticed by the St. Paul railroad builder James J. Hill, who was to commission or acquire many pictures of himself, his family, his friends and business associates, like the Canadian missionary Father Albert Lacombe in 1895, and John Stewart Kennedy the financier in 1901.
To read more about Adolfo Müller-Ury, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

William Wyler

Country of origin: Germany
William Wyler (July 1, 1902 – July 27, 1981) was a leading American motion picture director, producer, and screenwriter. Notable works included Ben-Hur (1959), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and Mrs. Miniver (1942), all of which won Wyler Academy Awards for Best Director, and also won Best Picture. He earned his first Oscar nomination for directing Dodsworth in 1936, starring Walter Huston and Mary Astor, "sparking a 20-year run of almost unbroken greatness." Film historian Ian Freer calls Wyler a "bona fide perfectionist," whose penchant for retakes and an attempt to hone every last nuance, "became the stuff of legend." His ability to direct a string of classic literary adaptations into huge box-office and critical successes made him one of "Hollywood's most bankable moviemakers" during the 1930s and 1940s. Other popular films include Funny Girl (1968), How to Steal a Million (1966), The Big Country (1958), Roman Holiday (1953), The Heiress (1949), The Letter (1940), The Westerner (1940), Wuthering Heights (1939), Jezebel (1938), Dodsworth (1936), A House Divided (1931), and Hell's Heroes (1930).
Wyler is the most nominated director in Academy Awards history with 12 nominations.
To read more about William Wyler, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Marguerite Yourcenar

Country of origin: Belgium
Marguerite Yourcenar (8 June 1903 – 17 December 1987) was a Belgian-born French novelist and essayist. Winner of the Prix Femina and the Erasmus Prize, she was the first woman elected to the Académie française, in 1980, and the seventeenth person to occupy Seat 3.
To read more about Marguerite Yourcenar, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Julius Nieuwland

Country of origin: Belgium
Reverend Julius Aloysius (Arthur) Nieuwland, CSC, Ph.D., (14 February 1878 – 11 June 1936) was a Belgian-born Holy Cross priest and professor of chemistry and botany at the University of Notre Dame. He is known for his contributions to acetylene research and its use as the basis for one type of synthetic rubber, which eventually led to the invention of neoprene by DuPont.
To read more about Julius Nieuwland, visit his Wikipedia page.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Leo Hendrik Baekeland

Country of origin: Belgium
Leo Hendrik Baekeland (Sint-Martens-Latem (near Ghent), November 14, 1863 – February 23, 1944) was a Belgian chemist who invented Velox photographic paper (1893) and Bakelite (1907), an inexpensive, nonflammable, versatile, and popular plastic, which marks the beginning of the modern plastics industry.
To read more about Leo Hendrik Baekeland, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Svetlana Vanchugova

Country of origin: Ukraine
Postville thinks of itself as a place where people of all backgrounds and nationalities can come, do hard and unsavory work, and get ahead. Svetlana Vanchugova, who teaches English classes to non-native speakers at the high school, is one such immigrant. Called "Ms. Lana" by her students, Vanchugova came to Postville in 1995 from Ukraine in order to escape an unhappy marriage and to start a new life with her two sons. "For me it was a fairy tale when I first came to this little town," she says. Vanchugova taught English at a university in Ukraine, but when she arrived in America, her only option was to work at the plant, packing chickens. "Just imagine what a university professor feels working for agriprocessors for three years," she told Yahoo News as her high school students worked quietly behind her. "One thought was torturing me: that I didn't belong there."
Go here to read the rest of her story, as well as find out about the impact of a 2008 raid that removed 20% of the population of the town of Postville, Iowa.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thanhha Lai

Country of origin: Vietnam
For Thanhha Lai, a National Book Award was never part of the plan. At age ten, when she emigrated with her family from Vietnam to Alabama, she had a much more modest goal: mastering English. Decades later, as an adjunct writing professor at Parsons The New School for Design, she has won the nation’s most prestigious writing prize. Her novel, Inside Out and Back Again, tells the story of Ha, a young girl who leaves wartime Saigon for the United States and struggles to reconcile two very different worlds. Lai spent 15 years trying to write the story as an adult novel. “The character is some version of me, so I had that down. I just couldn’t find the right voice,” she said. “It needed to reflect the Vietnamese inside a ten-year-old’s mind. I think of Vietnamese as poetic, so I worked to cut out every unneeded word.”
To read the rest of the article, go here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wendy Law-Yone

Country of origin: Burma
Wendy Law-Yone, (pronounced [lɔ́ jòuɴ]; born 1947), is a critically acclaimed Burmese American author of novels and short stories. Though she did not settle in the United States until she was an adult, she is identified as an Asian American writer. Her novels, The Coffin Tree (1983) and Irrawaddy Tango (1993), were critically well received, with the latter nominated in 1995 for the Irish Times Literary Prize. Her third novel, "The Road to Wanting," (2010) is set in Burma, China and Thailand.
To read more about Wendy Law-Yone, visit her page on Wikipedia. You can also see an interview with here here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Juliana Pegues

Country of origin: Taiwan
Juliana Pegues is an American writer, performer and community activist living in Minnesota. Born in Taiwan and raised in Alaska, Pegues, has been a member of both the women of color theater group Mama Mosaic and Mango Tribe, a national Asian Pacific Islander American women's performance collective.
To read more about Juliana Pegues, visit her Wikipedia page, or visit this page.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Annie Moore

Country of origin: Ireland
Anna "Annie" Moore was the first immigrant to the United States to pass through the Ellis Island facility in New York Harbor.
To read more about Annie Moore, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Shirley Geok-lin Lim

Country of origin: Malaysia
Shirley Geok-lin Lim (born 1944) was born in Malacca Malaysia. She is an American writer of poetry, fiction, and criticism. Her first collection of poems, Crossing The Peninsula, published in 1980, won her the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, a first both for an Asian and for a woman. Among several other awards that she has received, her memoir, Among the White Moon Faces, received the 1997 American Book Award.
To read more about Shirley Geok-lin Lim, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mostafa Hefny

Country of origin: Egypt
Mostafa Hefny was born in Egypt and has always been proud of his Egyptian culture and his African ancestry. But when Hefny immigrated to America, the U.S. government told him he was no longer a black man.
To read the rest of the story, visit the website.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sui Sin Far

Country of origin: England
Sui Sin Far (born Edith Maude Eaton; 15 March 1865 – 7 April 1914) was an author known for her writing about Chinese people in North America and the Chinese American experience. "Sui Sin Far", her pen name, is the Cantonese name of the narcissus flower, popular amongst Chinese people.
First published in 1896, her fictional stories about Chinese Americans were a reasoned appeal for her society's acceptance of working-class Chinese at a time when the United States Congress maintained the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese immigration to the United States.
To read more about Sui Sin Far, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Zee Edgell

Country of origin: Belize
Zelma I. Edgell, better known as Zee Edgell, MBE, (born 21 October 1940 in Belize City, Belize) is a writer. She has had four of her novels published. She is an associate professor of English at Kent State University.
To read more about Zee Edgell, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Camille A. Nelson

To celebrate his birthday, I'll start today's entry with a relevant quote from Mark Twain:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” —Mark Twain, 1857
Now, on to Camille A. Nelson!

Country of origin: Jamaica
Camille A. Nelson is a Jamaican academic, and the current and 12th Dean of Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts. Nelson graduated with her Bachelors from the University of Toronto, her law degree from the University of Ottawa and a LLM from Columbia University. Camille Nelson was the first black woman to clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada, and is the first woman and first person of color to become Dean at Suffolk University Law School; she became Dean in 2010.
Above quoted from Wikipedia. To read an article about Camille A. Nelson, visit

Stalin's daughter, who had found refuge in Marin, dies at 85

Story here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wolfgang Pauli

Country of origin: Austria Hungary
Wolfgang Ernst Pauli (25 April 1900 – 15 December 1958) was an Austrian theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers of quantum physics. In 1945, after being nominated by Albert Einstein, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his "decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or Pauli principle," involving spin theory, underpinning the structure of matter and the whole of chemistry.
To read more about Wolfgang Pauli, visit his page at Wikipedia, or see his bio at the website.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Carlo Alban

Country of origin: Ecuador
From his soft-spoken demeanor, you wouldn't suspect Carlo Alban's incredible story. This 32-year-old actor came from Ecuador as a child and was an undocumented immigrant for most of his teenage life. But he was also one of the main characters on Sesame Street for five years.
To read more about Carlo Alban, see this story, or listen to an interview here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ngawang Wangyal

Country of origin: Tibet
Ngawang Wangyal (c. 1901-1983), popularly known as "Geshe Wangyal," was a Buddhist priest and scholar of Kalmyk origin who was born in the Astrakhan province in southeast Russia sometime in 1901. Geshe Wangyal was the youngest of four children and had chosen at age six to enter the monastery as a novice monk. After the Russian Civil War, Geshe Wangyal went to Lhasa, Tibet, where he studied at the Gomang College of Drepung Monastic University in Lhasa until 1935 when he decided to return to his homeland to obtain financial support to complete his studies.


In 1958, Geshe Wangyal established a Buddhist monastery in Washington, New Jersey called Labsum Shedrub Ling. He served as the monastery's head teacher until his death in January, 1983. He taught many students of Western background and contributed greatly to the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in the United States.
To learn more about Ngawang Wangyal, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Diluwa Khutugtu Jamsrangjab

Country of origin: Mongolia
Diluwa Khutugtu Jamsrangjab (1883–1964) was supposedly the last Mongolian Khutugtu, a Lamaist dignitary believed to be an incarnation of Buddha, politician and Mongolian-American scholar. Jamsrangjab was a Khalkha Mongolian and considered the living Buddha among the Mongols. He had strong friendly ties with Dalai Lama and Chiang Kai-shek. Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, respected Diluwa Khutugtu Jamsrangjab as his mentor and teacher during his visit to the monastery he founded in New Jersey, USA. ... After he came to the USA in 1949 with the assistance of Owen Lattimore and fellow professors, Jamsranjab worked at the Johns Hopkins University. There he joined American-British professor Owen Lattimore's the Mongolia Project. In New Jersey, he founded a Monastery with Kalmyk American lamas in 1950-1952. He was elected the chief lama of the Monastery there. When he was in the USA, he still worked for the international recognization of Mongolian independence.
To read more about Diluwa Khutugtu Jamsrangjab, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ahmet Ertegun

Country of origin: Turkey
Ahmet Ertegün (pronounced [ahˈmet eɾteˈɟyn]; July 31 [O.S. July 18] 1923 – December 14, 2006) was a Turkish American musician and businessman, best known as the founder and president of Atlantic Records. He also wrote classic blues and pop songs and served as Chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and museum. Ertegun has been described as "one of the most significant figures in the modern recording industry." He also co-founded the New York Cosmos soccer team of the North American Soccer League.
To read more about Ahmet Ertegun, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Feza Gürsey

Country of origin: Turkey
Feza Gürsey (April 7, 1921 - April 13, 1992) was a Turkish mathematician and physicist. His best known contribution to theoretical physics is his work on the Nonlinear Chiral Lagrangian.
To read more about Feza Gürsey, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

7-Eleven owner Igor Finkler Celebrates One Year of Business

See the video here.

Muzafer Sherif

Country of origin: Turkey
Muzafer Sherif (born Muzaffer Şerif Başoğlu; July 29, 1906, in Ödemiş, İzmir, Turkey – October 16, 1988, in Fairbanks, Alaska) was one of the founders of social psychology. He helped develop social judgment theory and realistic conflict theory.
To read more about Muzafer Sherif, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Oliver Smithies

Country of origin: England
Oliver Smithies (born June 23, 1925) is a British-born American geneticist and Nobel laureate, credited with the invention of gel electrophoresis in 1955, and the simultaneous discovery, with Mario Capecchi and Martin Evans, of the technique of homologous recombination of transgenic DNA with genomic DNA, a much more reliable method of altering animal genomes than previously used, and the technique behind gene targeting and knockout mice.
To read more about Oliver Smithies, visit his link at Wikipedia, or see this page at

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jamaica Kincaid

Country of origin: Antigua and Barbuda
Jamaica Kincaid (born May 25, 1949, as Elaine Cynthia Potter Richardson) is a Caribbean novelist, gardener, and gardening writer. She was born in the city of St. John's on the island of Antigua in the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. She lives with her family in North Bennington, Vermont, during the summers and teaches at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, during the academic year.
To read more about Jamaica Kincaid, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo

Country of origin: Mexico
Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo is a Mexican radio personality, born in Ocotlán, Jalisco, in 1972. His show, "Piolín por la Mañana," runs weekday mornings on KSCA in Southern California. His nickname means "Tweety Bird" in Spanish, a nickname he acquired as a child. The LA Times ranked Sotelo in 2006 amongst the 100 most powerful people in Southern California. His show, broadcast entirely in Spanish for a Spanish speaking audience, is one of the most popular shows on Los Angeles radio, with a 9.9 rating. In 2005 Sotelo gave illegal alien supporters four hours on his program. His support of the illegal alien protests in 2006 is often credited as the main reason for their enormous turnout, even though many other media personalities helped to make it. He has explained that his own experience of crossing the border illegally and living in the United States as an illegal alien helped him identify with the situation. He is now residing legally in the United States where he encourages illegal aliens to engage in peaceful political activism for immigration reform.
To read more about Eddie Sotelo, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Maria Martinez

Country of origin: El Salvador
Maria Martinez, 19, is an illegal alien. She immigrated to this country from El Salvador six years ago to be with her mother, who works in a poultry processing plant in the mountains of rural Virginia. And she is scheduled to be deported Aug. 27.
To read more about Maria Martinez's story, read this article at the New York Times.

Friday, November 18, 2011

José Iturbi

Country of origin: Spain
José Iturbi (28 November 1895 – 28 June 1980) was a Spanish conductor, harpsichordist and pianist. He appeared in several Hollywood films of the 1940s, notably playing himself in the 1943 musical, Thousands Cheer and in the 1945 film, Anchors Aweigh. He was involved in a complex family custody battle in the 1940s that culminated in his former son-in-law kidnapping Iturbi's two granddaughters.
To read more about José Iturbi, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Andy García

Country of origin: Cuba
Andrés Arturo García Menéndez (born April 12, 1956), professionally known as Andy García, is a Cuban American actor. He became known in the late 1980s and 1990s, having appeared in several successful Hollywood films, including The Godfather: Part III, The Untouchables, Internal Affairs and When a Man Loves a Woman. More recently, he has starred in Ocean's Eleven and its sequels, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen, and The Lost City. García was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Vincent Mancini in The Godfather Part III.
To read more about Andy García, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Franklin Chang-Diaz

Country of origin: Costa Rica
Franklin Ramón Chang Díaz (born April 5, 1950) is a Costa Rican-American engineer, physicist and former NASA astronaut. He is currently president and CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company. He is a veteran of seven Space Shuttle missions, making him the record holder as of 2008 for the most spaceflights (a record he shares with Jerry L. Ross). He was the third Latino American to go into space and is the first naturalized US citizen to become an astronaut.
To find out more about Franklin Chang-Diaz, visit his Wikipedia page here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rodolfo Llinás

Country of origin: Columbia
Rodolfo R. Llinás PhD (b. Bogotá, Colombia in 1934) is a neuroscientist. He is presently the Thomas and Suzanne Murphy Professor of Neuroscience and Chairman of the department of Physiology & Neuroscience at the NYU School of Medicine. He attended the Gimnasio Moderno school and received his MD from the Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá in 1959 and his PhD in 1965 from the Australian National University working under Sir John Eccles. Llinás has published over 500 scientific articles.
To read more about Rodolfo Llinás, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, November 14, 2011

John Leguizamo

Country of origin: Columbia
Jonathan Alberto "John" Leguizamo (born July 22, 1964) is an Colombian-American actor, producer, voice artist, and comedian.
To read more about John Leguizamo, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vilmos Zsigmond

Country of origin: Hungary
Vilmos Zsigmond, A.S.C. (born June 16, 1930) is a Hungarian-American cinematographer. In 2003, a survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild placed Zsigmond among the ten most influential cinematographers in history.
To read more about Vilmos Zsigmond, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Agoston Haraszthy

Country of origin: Hungary
Agoston Haraszthy (Hungarian: Haraszthy Ágoston; August 30, 1812, Pest, Hungary – July 6, 1869, Corinto, Nicaragua) was a Hungarian-American traveler, writer, town-builder, and pioneer winemaker in Wisconsin and California, often referred to as the "Father of California Viticulture," or the "Father of Modern Winemaking in California". One of the first men to plant vineyards in Wisconsin, he was the founder of the Buena Vista vineyards (now Buena Vista Carneros) in Sonoma, California, and an early writer on California wine and viticulture. Agoston Haraszthy He was the first Hungarian to settle permanently in the United States and only the second to write a book about the country in his native language. He is remembered in Wisconsin as the founder of the oldest incorporated village in the state. He also operated the first commercial steamboat on the upper Mississippi River. In San Diego he is remembered as the first town marshal and the first county sheriff. In California he introduced more than three hundred varieties of European grapes.
To read more about Agoston Haraszthy, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Louise Bourgeois

Country of origin: France
Louise Joséphine Bourgeois (French pronunciation: [lwiz buʁʒwa]; 25 December 1911 – 31 May 2010), was a renowned French-American artist and sculptor, best known for her contributions to both modern and contemporary art, and for her spider structures, titled Maman, which resulted in her being nicknamed the Spiderwoman. She is recognized today as the founder of confessional art.
To read more about Louise Bourgeois, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kalpana Chawla

Country of origin: India
Kalpana Chawla (July 1, 1961 – February 1, 2003) was an Indian-American astronaut with NASA. She was one of seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
To read more about Kalpana Chawla, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ted Fujita

Country of origin: Japan
Tetsuya Theodore "Ted" Fujita (藤田 哲也, Fujita Tetsuya?, October 23, 1920 – November 19, 1998) was a prominent severe storms researcher. His research at the University of Chicago on severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes and typhoons revolutionized knowledge of each.
To read more about Ted Fujita, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Masi Oka

Country of origin: Japan
Masayori "Masi" Oka (岡 政偉 (Oka Masayori?); born December 27, 1974) is a Japanese-American actor and digital effects artist. He has performed in numerous feature films and TV series, most prominently as Hiro Nakamura in the NBC TV series Heroes from 2006 until its cancellation in May 2010. He resides in Los Angeles, California.
To read more about Masi Oka, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jessica Tandy

Country of origin: England
Jessie Alice "Jessica" Tandy (June 7, 1909 – September 11, 1994) was an English - American stage and film actress. She first appeared on the London stage in 1926 at the age of 16, playing, among others, Katherine opposite Laurence Olivier's Henry V, and Cordelia opposite John Gielgud's King Lear. She also worked in British films. Following the end of her marriage to Jack Hawkins, she moved to New York, where she met Canadian actor Hume Cronyn. He became her second husband and frequent partner on stage and screen. She won the Tony Award for her performance as Blanche Dubois in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948, sharing the prize with Katherine Cornell (who won for Antony and Cleopatra) and Judith Anderson (for the latter's portrayal of Medea). Over the following three decades, her career continued sporadically and included a substantial role in Alfred Hitchcock's film, The Birds (1963), and a Tony Award-winning performance in The Gin Game (playing in the two-character play opposite her husband, Cronyn) in 1977. She, along with Cronyn was a member of the original acting company of The Guthrie Theater. In the mid 1980s she enjoyed a career revival. She appeared opposite Hume Cronyn in the Broadway production of Foxfire in 1983 and its television adaptation four years later, winning both a Tony Award and an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Annie Nations. During these years, she appeared in films such as Cocoon (1985), also with Cronyn. She became the oldest actress to receive the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Driving Miss Daisy (1989), for which she also won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). At the height of her success, she was named as one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People". She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1990, and continued working until shortly before her death.
To read more about Jessica Tandy, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cleng Peerson

Country of origin: Norway
Cleng Peerson (17 May 1783 – 16 December 1865) was a Norwegian-American pioneer who led the first group of Norwegians to emigrate to the United States, traveling on the Norwegian sloop Restauration.
To read more about Cleng Peerson, read his page on Wikipedia here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Country of origin: Germany
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, CBE (born 7 May 1927) is a Booker prize-winning novelist, short story writer, and two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter. She is perhaps best known for her long collaboration with Merchant Ivory Productions, made up of director James Ivory and the late producer Ismail Merchant. Their films won six Academy Awards.
To read more about Ruth Prawer Jhabvala visit her page on Wikipedia.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Eileen Chang

Country of origin: China
Eileen Chang (simplified Chinese: 张爱玲; traditional Chinese: 張愛玲; pinyin: Zhāng Ailíng; Cantonese Yale: Zoeng Oiling) (September 30, 1920 – September 8, 1995) was a Chinese writer. Her most famous works include Lust, Caution and Love in a Fallen City. She is noted for her fiction writings that deal with the tensions between men and women in love, and are considered by some scholars to be among the best Chinese literature of the period. Chang's portrayal of life in 1940s Shanghai and occupied Hong Kong is remarkable in its focus on everyday life and the absence of the political subtext which characterised many other writers of the period. Taiwanese author Yuan Qiongqiong drew inspiration from Eileen Chang. Poet and University of Southern California professor Dominic Cheung commented "had it not been for the political division between the Nationalist and Communist Chinese, she would have almost certainly won a Nobel Prize".
To read more about Eileen Chang, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dan Aykroyd

Country of origin: Canada
Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd, CM (born July 1, 1952) is a Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, winemaker and ufologist. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of The Blues Brothers (with John Belushi) and Ghostbusters and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter.
To read more about Dan Aykroyd, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nasser J. Kazeminy

Country of origin: Iran
Mr. Nasser J. Kazeminy was born in Iran and educated in England where he met his wife. After designing the worldwide logistics and management information system for Honeywell, Mr. Kazeminy was recruited away by Control Data Corporation. Together with two small children and a salary advance of $250 from his new employer; Mr. Kazeminy relocated to the United States in 1969 to design and implement a worldwide logistics and management information system.
To find out more about Nasser J. Kazeminy, visit this link at

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Country of origin: Poland
Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski (Polish: Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński, pronounced [ˈzbʲiɡɲiɛf kaˈʑimʲiɛʐ bʐɛˈʑiɲski]; born March 28, 1928) is a Polish American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.
To read more about Zbigniew Brzezinski, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, October 31, 2011

John James Audubon

Country of origin: Saint-Domingue
John James Audubon (Jean-Jacques Audubon) (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of North America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. Audubon identified 25 new species and a number of new sub-species.
To read more about John James Audubon, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Eleuthère Irénée du Pont

Country of origin: France
Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours (24 June 1771 – 31 October 1834), known as Irénée du Pont, or E.I. du Pont, was a French-born Huguenot chemist and industrialist who immigrated to the United States in 1799 and founded the gunpowder manufacturer, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. His descendants, the Du Pont family, were one of America's richest and most prominent families in the 19th and 20th centuries.
To learn more about Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Samina Ali

Country of origin: India
Ali was born in Hyderabad, India, and emigrated with her parents to America when she was six months old. She spent half of each year in India, where she attended school. In 1993 she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in English. She received an M.F.A. from the University of Oregon. She lives in San Francisco with her son, and is working on her second novel.
To read more about Samina Ali, visit her page on Wikipedia, or an interview with her here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today is National Immigrant's Day

See video here

Branka Katić

Country of origin: Serbia
Branka Katić (Serbian Cyrillic: Бранка Катић; born 20 January 1970) is a Serbian actress known for appearing in the movies Black Cat, White Cat and Public Enemies, and in the TV series Big Love.
To read more about Branka Katić, visit her page here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Janet Nguyen

Country of origin: Vietnam
Janet Q. Nguyen (born 1976) is the County Supervisor from the First District of Orange County, California. She won her seat following a historic special election where two Vietnamese-American candidates received half of the total votes cast in a field of 10, separated from each other by only 7 votes. She was sworn in on March 27, 2007, after a lengthy court battle. She won a full, four-year term in 2008 in another historic election when all three major candidates were Vietnamese Americans. She is the youngest person to be elected to the board of supervisors, the first woman to be elected from the First District, and the first Vietnamese-American county supervisor in the United States. Prior to her election to the Board of Supervisors, she served as a city council member for the City of Garden Grove.
To read more about Janet Nguyen, see her Wikipedia page here.

Marina Belotserkovsky

Country of origin: Russia

Marina Belotserkovsky immigrated to the United States in 1989 as a refugee from the Former Soviet Union. She started her career at HIAS in 1990 and currently is Director of Russian Communications and Outreach, where she is responsible for assisting over one million members of the Russian speaking community in America. Ms. Belotserkovsky produces and hosts “HIAS Answers” for both radio and television. These programs have been hugely popular and helped countless thousands of new Americans find their way in their new world. Together with her HIAS’ colleagues, she has been instrumental in the success of LOREO and the Civic and Voter Educational Initiative – HIAS’ key national outreach programs for Russian Americans.
Before coming to the United States, Ms. Belotserkovsky founded and ran a school for gifted children in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has a Masters Degree in linguistics and teaching from the Pedagogical State University of St. Petersburg. She currently lives in Edison, NJ.

The above is from this page.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

D. J. Mbenga

Country of origin: Zaire
Didier Ilunga-Mbenga, commonly referred to as D. J. Mbenga (pronounced: Benga) (born December 30, 1980), is a Belgian professional basketball player who last played for the New Orleans Hornets. He also plays for the Belgian national basketball team.
Mbenga Foundation offers help to children in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congolese refugees in Belgium
To read more about D. J. Mbenga, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Obed Silva

Country of origin: Mexico
A former gang member is given the opportunity to stay in the United States. His alcoholic father was deported earlier. Now Obed Silva is trying to untangle his father's story and make art from it.
To read the rest of the story, visit the LA Times website.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kieu Chinh

Country of origin: Vietnam
Kieu Chinh (Vietnamese spelling: Kiều Chinh, real name Nguyễn Thị Chinh, born 1939 in Vietnam) is a Vietnamese American actress best known for her role in The Joy Luck Club. She currently lives in Garden Grove, California. ... Together with journalist Terry Anderson, she co-founded the Vietnam Children’s Fund, which has built schools in Vietnam attended by more than 12,000 students. Kieu Chinh and Anderson continue to serve as the Fund’s co-chair.
To read more about Kieu Chinh, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lucia Peka

Country of origin: Latvia
Lucia Peka (March 30, 1912 - August 13, 1991) was a Latvian-American Artist. Born in Latvia, she became part of the Diaspora of artists who fled Latvia during World War II, and eventually settled in the United States where she was a successful painter of landscapes, figures, and still life for almost 50 years. A touring gallery collection is currently (2010-2011) exhibiting a small collection of Peka oil paintings along with other Latvian Displaced Persons of the mid 20th century.
To read more about Lucia Peka, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Juris Hartmanis

Country of origin: Latvia
Juris Hartmanis (born July 5, 1928 in Riga, Latvia) is a prominent computer scientist and computational theorist who, with Richard E. Stearns, received the 1993 ACM Turing Award "in recognition of their seminal paper which established the foundations for the field of computational complexity theory".
To read more about Juris Hartmanis, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mary Harris Jones

Country of origin: Ireland
Mary Harris "Mother" Jones (August 1, 1837 – November 30, 1930), born in Cork, Ireland, was a prominent American labor and community organizer, who helped coordinate major strikes and co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World. She worked as a teacher and dressmaker but after her husband and four children all died of yellow fever and her workshop was destroyed in a fire in 1871 she began working as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers union. She was a very effective speaker, punctuating her speeches with stories, audience participation, humor and dramatic stunts. From 1897 (when she was 60) she was known as Mother Jones and in 1902 she was called "the most dangerous woman in America" for her success in organizing mine workers and their families against the mine owners. In 1903, upset about the lax enforcement of the child labor laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, she organized a Children's March from Philadelphia to the home of then president Theodore Roosevelt in New York.
To read more about Mary Harris Jones, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dan Wheldon

Country of origin: England
Daniel Clive "Dan" Wheldon (22 June 1978 – 16 October 2011) was an English racing driver. He was the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion, and winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and 2011. Wheldon died from injuries shortly after a collision at the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on 16 October 2011, at the age of 33.
To read more about Dan Wheldon's support of disaster victims, read this article. To find out more about Dan Wheldon, visit his page on Wikipedia. My condolences go out to his family for their loss.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Levi Strauss

Country of origin: Germany
Levi Strauss (born Löb Strauß; February 26, 1829 – September 26, 1902) was a German-Jewish immigrant to the United States who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. His firm, Levi Strauss & Co., began in 1853 in San Francisco, California.
To read more about Levi Strauss, visit his page on Wikipedia, or visit

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yiyun Li

Country of origin: China
Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing and came to the United States in 1996. Her stories and essays have been published in The New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, O Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and awards from Lannan Foundation and Whiting Foundation. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award, and California Book Award for first fiction; it was also shortlisted for Kiriyama Prize and Orange Prize for New Writers. Her novel, The Vagrants, won the gold medal of California Book Award for fiction. She was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35, and was named by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 writers under 40. MacArthur Foundation named her a 2010 fellow.
To read more about Yiyun Li, see her page on Wikipedia or visit her official website.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Claude Rains

Country of origin: England
Claude Rains (10 November 1889 – 30 May 1967) was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned 47 years. He was known for many roles in Hollywood films, among them the title role in The Invisible Man (1933), a corrupt senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Mr. Dryden in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and, perhaps his most notable performance, as Captain Renault in Casablanca (1942).
To read more about Claude Rains, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Manivanh “Molly” Khounxay

Country of origin: Laos
A Laotian woman took a treacherous journey with family to come to America in 1980. It’s hard to believe, but the black-haired woman who owns a successful hair salon in Willow Grove was once imprisoned and a rifle held to her temple. She was 7 years old. She and her family were fleeing from impoverished Laos by foot and by canoe. Her impossible, death-defying journey finally led her to America, the land of opportunity.
To read the rest of the article, go here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fan Chung

Country of origin: Taiwan

Fan Rong K Chung Graham (金芳蓉, pinyin: Jīn Fāngróng) (born October 9, 1949 in Kaohsiung), known professionally as Fan Chung, is a mathematician who works mainly in the areas of spectral graph theory, extremal graph theory and random graphs, in particular in generalizing the Erdős-Rényi model for graphs with general degree distribution (including power-law graphs in the study of large information networks).

To read more about Fan Chung, visit her page on Wikipedia, or here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vidal Tapia

Country of origin: Mexico

Vidal Tapia is by all accounts International High School's brightest prospect. A teacher-described "pillar of strength" at the Paterson school, he carries a 4.0 GPA, a National Honor Society membership and a slew of community service hours. He was tapped as his class's valedictorian to give the commencement address in June. Eventually, he wants to work for NASA.

But his plans might fall short of even graduation, not because of any academic problems, but rather an immigration snare.

To read the rest of Vidal Tapia's story, go here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Naif Al-Mutawa

Country of origin: Kuwait

Comic book fans might call it a great origin story: In the aftermath of 9/11, a Muslim man creates a comic book series, "The 99," inspired by the principles of his faith. It builds a global audience and investors contribute millions for it to continue and expand.

In two vastly different cultures, Naif Al-Mutawa's tale hits a few roadblocks - "villains" if you will: Censorship from Saudi Arabia, home to the main Muslim holy sites; in the United States, a struggle to build an audience where free expression has been hampered by a post-9/11 rise in suspicion and scrutiny of all things Islamic.


Al-Mutawa has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University where he also earned a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. He holds a Masters in Organizational Psychology from Teacher’s College, Columbia University and an MBA, also from Columbia University. He earned his undergraduate degree from Tufts University, where he triple majored in clinical psychology, English literature and history.

To read more about Naif Al-Mutawa, visit his official website, or read this article at Forbes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Luis Duarte

Country of origin: El Salvador

Luis Duarte left El Salvador for the United States when he was 7 years old, enrolling in school unable to speak English.

Against all odds, Luis graduated in June from Plano East Senior High School ranked ninth out of 1,338 students. He also earned a diploma from the prestigious college prep International Baccalaureate program.

His achievements earned him a full scholarship to Harvard University, but he was hesitant about going.

To read the rest of Luis Duarte's story, go here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Charles Simic

Country of origin: Yugoslavia

Dušan “Charles” Simić (Serbian: Душан "Чарлс" Симић [dǔʃan t͡ʃârls sǐːmit͡ɕ]; born 9 May 1938) is a Serbian-American poet, and was co-Poetry Editor of the Paris Review. He was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2007.

To find out more about Charles Simic, visit his Wikipedia page, or visit this link.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Plácido Domingo

Country of origin: Spain

Plácido Domingo KBE (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈplaθiðo doˈmingo]) (born 21 January 1941), born José Plácido Domingo Embil, is a Spanish tenor and conductor known for his versatile and strong voice, possessing a ringing and dramatic tone throughout its range. In March 2008, he debuted in his 128th opera role, and as of July 2011 his 136 roles give Domingo more roles than any other tenor.

To read more about Plácido Domingo and his many humanitarian works, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Emily Alice Goldsmith and Frank John William Goldsmith

Country of origin: England

Emily Goldsmith and her son Frank Goldsmith were survivors of the Titanic disaster.

Frank John William Goldsmith (19 December 1902 — 27 January 1982), was a survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. He later wrote a book about his experiences on the ship, and had his story featured in the documentary, Titanic: The Legend Lives On, as well as a children's book about the disaster, Inside the Titanic.


After their rescue Emily and Frankie made their way to Detroit where they settled. Emily found employment as a dressmaker. She acted as a volunteer for the American Red Cross during World War Two.


Frank served as a civilian photographer for the U.S. Air Force during World War II. After the war, he brought his family to Ashland, Ohio, and later opened a photography supply store in nearby Mansfield, Ohio.

Frank wrote an autobiography entitled Echoes in the Night: Memories of a Titanic Survivor and published by the Titanic Historical Society. Walter Lord wrote the foreword to the book, which is the only book written by a third class passenger about the sinking.

To read more about Frank John William Goldsmith visit his page at Wikipedia and you can find out more about Emily Alice Goldsmith here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Luke Song

Country of origin: South Korea

Luke Song is an American contemporary high fashion milliner designer.

Luke Song(hangul=송 욱 born in December 1972 in Seoul, South Korea) is a 5th generation Seoulite who grew up in the fashionable district of Myongdong. He moved to the Detroit suburbs in 1982 and graduated from Birmingham Seaholm High School. He first studied Bio-Chemistry, but eventually ended up studying fine arts at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Luke's artistic career lead him eventually to Paris, France, but he found the art of hat making during his journey back home to Michigan. He began his career as a milliner in 1997. He incorporated Moza Inc. in 1998 and his label Mr. Song Millinery is currently sold in over 500 boutiques around the world. Luke has been also designing for many other fashion companies and designs products for the movies, TV, books, magazines, and other venues. He collaborates with many artists around the world for gallery exhibitions and special exhibitions. He is currently working on 6 joint projects in Japan, France, South Korea and USA. He is also known as "Mr. Song" by most of his clients.

To read more about Luke Song, visit his page on Wikipedia, or to find out more about the hat he designed that Aretha Franklin wore to President Obama’s Inauguration, visit

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Abdulfattah John Jandali

Country of origin: Syria

Abdulfattah John Jandali is the biological father of the late Steve Jobs. Read more about his story here and here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Marina Marmolejo

Country of origin: Mexico

Marina Garcia Marmolejo (born 1971) is an attorney in Laredo, Texas and a current federal judicial nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

To read more about Marina Marmolejo, see her page on Wikipedia, or read this current news article.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

James Reston

Country of origin: Scotland

James Barrett Reston (November 3, 1909–December 6, 1995), nicknamed "Scotty," was an American journalist whose career spanned the mid 1930s to the early 1990s. He was associated for many years with the New York Times.


Reston won the Pulitzer Prize twice. The first was in 1945, for his coverage of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, particularly an exclusive series that detailed how the delegates planned to set up the United Nations. Decades later, he revealed that his source was a former New York Times copy boy who was a member of the Chinese delegation. He received the second award in 1957 for his national correspondence, especially "his five-part analysis of the effect of President Eisenhower's illness on the functioning of the executive branch of the federal government." He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1986 and the Four Freedoms Award in 1991. He was also awarded the chevalier of the Légion d'honneur from France, the Order of St. Olav from Norway, Order of Merit from Chile, the Order of Leopold (Belgium) and honorary degrees from 28 universities.

To read more about James Reston, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Henry J. Heinz

Country of origin: Germany

Henry John Heinz (October 11, 1844 – May 14, 1919) was an American businessman, who founded the H. J. Heinz Company.

Heinz was one of eight children born to John Henry Heinz. Both parents had emigrated from Kallstadt, Germany and settled in the Birmingham section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—today known as the South Side.

When Henry was six, the family moved several miles up the Allegheny River to the little town of Sharpsburg. There, at age six, young Henry (called Harry by his family) started helping his mother tend a small backyard garden behind the family home. At age eight Henry was canvassing the neighborhood with a basket under each arm selling vegetables from the family garden door to door. By age nine he was growing, grinding, bottling and selling his own brand of horseradish sauce. At ten he was given a ¾-acre (3,000 m²) garden of his own and had graduated to a wheelbarrow to deliver his vegetables. At twelve he was working 3½ acres (14,000 m²) of garden using a horse and cart for his three-times-a-week deliveries to grocery stores in Pittsburgh. At seventeen he was grossing $2,400 a year—a handsome sum for the times.

Heinz attended public schools and then Duff's Business College. After graduating from college, he started employment with his father's brick manufacturing business, eventually becoming a partner in the firm. All the while he continued growing and selling fresh produce.

To read more about Henry J. Heinz, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Teresa Heinz

Country of origin: Portugal

Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões-Ferreira Heinz (born October 5, 1938), known as Teresa Heinz, is an American businesswoman and philanthropist, the widow of former U.S. Senator H. John Heinz III (R-Pennsylvania), and the wife of U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts).


Teresa Heinz is the chair of The Heinz Endowments and the Heinz Family Philanthropies, disbursing money to various social and environmental causes. Heinz Endowments are among the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States.

To read more about Teresa Heinz and The Heinz Endowments visit her page on Wikipedia and The Heinz Endowment website.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jennifer Granholm

Country of origin: Canada

Jennifer Mulhern Granholm (born February 5, 1959) is a Canadian-born American politician, educator, and author who served as Attorney General and 47th Governor of the U.S. state of Michigan. A member of the Democratic Party, Granholm became Michigan's first female governor on January 1, 2003, when she succeeded Governor John Engler. Granholm was re-elected on November 7, 2006, and was sworn in for her second and, due to term limits, final term on January 1, 2007. She has been mentioned as a potential Supreme Court justice for President Barack Obama. She was a member of the transition team for the presidency of President Obama before he assumed office on January 20, 2009. After leaving office, Granholm took a position at the University of California at Berkeley and, with her husband Daniel Mulhern, coauthored A Governor's Story: The Fight for Jobs and America's Future, released in September 2011.

To read more about Jennifer Granholm, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hiroshi Motomura

Country of origin: Japan

Hiroshi Motomura is an influential scholar and teacher of immigration and citizenship law. He is a co-author of two immigration-related casebooks: Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy (seventh edition in press fall 2011), and Forced Migration: Law and Policy, published in 2007. His book, Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States, published in 2006 by Oxford University Press, won the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Award from the Association of American Publishers as the year’s best book in Law and Legal Studies, and was chosen by the U.S. Department of State for its Suggested Reading List for Foreign Service Officers.

To read more about Hiroshi Motomura, see his biography here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Charles K. Kao

Country of origin: China

The Honorable Sir Charles Kuen Kao (born November 4, 1933) is a pioneer in the development and use of fiber optics in telecommunications. Kao, known as the "Godfather of Broadband", "Father of Fiber Optics" or "Father of Fiber Optic Communications", was awarded half of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics for "groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication".

To read more about Charles K. Kao, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Adil Najam

Country of origin: Pakistan

Adil Najam is a globally renowned Pakistani academic and intellectual. He is a leading expert on issues related to developing country environmental policy, especially climate change, and also on the politics of South Asia. He was the Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and Professor of International Relations and of Geography & Environment, both at Boston University before joining as Vice Chancellor of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)[1]. He is the winner of teaching awards at MIT and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the author of multiple books, scholarly papers and book chapters. He is also the founding editor of the blog Pakistaniat: All Things Pakistan and a highly sought public speaker.

To read more about Adil Najam, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Safaa Wadi

Country of origin: Iraq

LEWISTON, Maine — Safaa Wadi moved to this former mill city after his life was threatened in his native Iraq while serving as an interpreter for the U.S. Army. He expects to soon head back to Iraq -- not as a civilian interpreter, but as a U.S. soldier.

Wadi arrived in the United States in September with a special immigrant visa for Iraqi and Afghan interpreters. But with his savings nearly depleted and unable to land a decent job, Wadi enlisted in the Army. He begins training in South Carolina on Monday.

Wadi isn't worried about returning to Iraq, where many of his countrymen considered him a traitor because he worked with American forces. His allegiance is now to the United States, he says.

"I want to serve this country because this country returned to me my life," Wadi said. "If I had stayed in Iraq, I'd be dead now."

To read the rest of Safaa Wadi's story, go here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Carlos I. Noriega

Country of origin: Peru

Carlos Ismael Noriega (born 1959) is a Peruvian born NASA employee, a former NASA astronaut and a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel.

To read more about Carlos I. Noriega, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Helmuth Naumer

Country of origin: Germany

Helmuth Naumer Sr. (born 1907 in Reutlingen, Germany, died 16 June 1990) was a German American artist. He painted subjects throughout the United States and around the world but New Mexico was his favourite subject.

Naumer studied art in Germany and in 1926, he moved to the United States to experience the West that he had read about in novels of cowboy life. He attended the Frank Wiggins Trade School and the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and then joined the Merchant Marine. After six years at sea, Naumer moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1932. There he began to work in pastels.

To read more about Helmuth Naumer, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wolfgang Johannes Puck

Country of origin: Austria

Wolfgang Johannes Puck (born Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig; July 8, 1949) is an Austrian-American celebrity chef, restaurateur, businessman and occasional actor. Wolfgang Puck restaurants, catering services, cookbooks and licensed products are run by Wolfgang Puck Companies, with three divisions.

To find out more about Wolfgang Johannes Puck, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hannah Arendt

Country of origin: Germany

Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975) was a German -American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact that "men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world". Arendt's work deals with the nature of power, and the subjects of politics, authority, and totalitarianism.

To read more about Hannah Arendt, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mila Kunis

Country of origin: Ukraine

Milena "Mila" Kunis (Russian: Милена Кунис; Ukrainian: Мілена Куніс born August 14, 1983; play /ˈmiːlə ˈkuːnɪs/) is an actress who has starred in American films and television. Her work includes the role of Jackie Burkhart on the TV series That '70s Show and the voice of Meg Griffin on the animated series Family Guy. She has also played roles in film, such as Rachel Jansen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Mona Sax in Max Payne, Solara in The Book of Eli and Jamie in Friends with Benefits.

In 2010, she won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress at the 67th Venice International Film Festival for her performance as Lily in Black Swan. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for the same role.

To find out more about Mila Kunis, visit her link on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Country of origin: Nigeria

Uzo (born August 1957) is a Nigerian-American filmmaker and graphic artist. He has made two feature films, Walls & Bridges (1992) and Better Than Ever (1997). After losing the option to the film rights on the novel, Mendel's Dwarf, after many years of work, he is currently working on a third film, Sophie's Wish.

To find out more about Uzo, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jorge Munoz

Country of origin: Columbia

Watching Munoz, 44, distribute meals and offer extra cups of coffee, it's clear he's passionate about bringing food to hungry people. For more than four years, Munoz and his family have been feeding those in need seven nights a week, 365 days a year. To date, he estimates he's served more than 70,000 meals.

To read the rest of the article about Jorge Munoz, visit the cnn website. To find out more about the nonprofit he started to feed the hungry, visit the website here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Elias Zerhouni

Country of origin: Algeria

Elias A. Zerhouni (Arabic: إلياس زرهوني‎) (born April 12, 1951) is an Algerian born American radiologist and medical researcher. He was the 15th director of the National Institutes of Health, appointed by George W. Bush in May 2002. He served for 6 years, stepping down in October, 2008.

A resident of Pasadena, Maryland, Zerhouni is of Algerian descent. He was born in Nedroma in Tlemcen Province. He emigrated to the United States at age 24, having earned his M.D. at the University of Algiers School of Medicine in 1975. After completing his residency in diagnostic radiology at Johns Hopkins in 1978 as chief resident, he served as assistant professor in 1979 and associate professor in 1985. Between 1981 and 1985, he was in the department of radiology at Eastern Virginia Medical School and its affiliated DePaul Hospital. In 1988, Zerhouni returned to Johns Hopkins where he was appointed director of the MRI division, becoming chair of the Russell H. Morgan department of radiology and radiological science, and Martin Donner professor of radiology and professor of biomedical engineering. Zerhouni went on to serve as Executive Vice-Dean of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

To read more about Elias Zerhouni, visit his page at Wikipedia.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Marcus Garvey

Country of origin: Jamaica

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940) was a Jamaican publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). He founded the Black Star Line, part of the Back-to-Africa movement, which promoted the return of the African diaspora to their ancestral lands.

To read more about Marcus Garvey, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

William Hayward Pickering

Country of origin: New Zealand

William Hayward Pickering ONZ KBE (24 December 1910 — 15 March 2004) was a New Zealand born rocket scientist who headed Pasadena, California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for 22 years, retiring in 1976. He was a senior NASA luminary and pioneered the exploration of space.

To read more about William Hayward Pickering, visit his page on Wikipedia, or his obituary here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

John Gombojab Hangin

Country of origin: Mongolia

John Gombojab Hangin (1921–October 9, 1989) was a notable scholar of Mongolian studies. He authored several Mongolian dictionaries and textbooks and is credited by The New York Times with helping to establish recognition for the Mongolian People's Republic with the United Nations and the United States.

Hangin was born in Taibus Banner, Chahar, Inner Mongolia to a prominent family who had long been active in the Qing Dynasty court. He was sent to Hokkaido Imperial University in Japan to study during World War II, afterward taking a position as a secretary in the Mengjiang government of Prince Demchugdongrub. He was elected to the National Assembly of the Republic of China in 1947; however, after the Chinese Civil War ended with a communist victory, he emigrated to the United States in 1949.

To read more about John Gombojab Hangin, visit his page on Wikipedia, or see this article at the New York Times website.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Leslie Neilsen

Country of origin: Canada

Leslie William Nielsen, OC (11 February 1926 – 28 November 2010) was a Canadian and naturalized American actor and comedian. Nielsen appeared in more than one hundred films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying more than 220 characters.

To read more about Leslie Neilsen, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Meb Keflezighi

Country of origin: Eritrea

Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi (play /ˈmɛb kəˈflɛzɡi/; Ge'ez: መብራህቶም ክፍልእዝጊ mebrāhtōm kifl'igzī; born May 5, 1975 in Asmara, Eritrea) is an American athlete, specializing in long distance running. He and his family were refugees from Eritrea via Italy to the United States, when he was age 12. He began running while in an American Junior High School in San Diego, going on to win both the 1600 meters and 3200 meters at the CIF California State Championships in 1994 for San Diego High School.

To read more about Meb Keflezighi, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Joseph Brodsky

Country of origin: Russia

Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky (Russian: Ио́сиф Алекса́ндрович Бро́дский, IPA: [ˈjɵsʲɪf ˈbrotskʲɪj]; 24 May 1940 – 28 January 1996), was a Russian-American poet and essayist. He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 for alleged "social parasitism" and settled in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters. He taught thereafter at universities including those at Yale, Cambridge and Michigan.

Brodsky was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity". He was appointed American Poet Laureate in 1991.

To read more about Joseph Brodsky, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kiki Vo

Country of origin: Vietnam

Kiki Vo and her sisters were brought to the United States to treat burns sustained in a house fire; see this video to find out more about this remarkable young woman.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Edward Said

Country of origin: Palestine

"You cannot continue to victimize someone else just because you yourself were a victim once—there has to be a limit"
— Edward W. Said

Pondering this quote seems especially appropriate today as we remember the great tragedy that swept across the United States ten years ago.

Edward Wadie Saïd (Arabic pronunciation: [wædiːʕ sæʕiːd] Arabic: إدوارد وديع سعيد‎, Idwārd Wadīʿ Saʿīd; 1 November 1935 – 25 September 2003) was a Palestinian-American literary theorist and advocate for Palestinian rights. He was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and a founding figure in postcolonialism. Robert Fisk described him as the Palestinians' "most powerful political voice."

To read more about Edward Said, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Morley Safer

Country of origin: Canada

Morley Safer (born November 8, 1931) is a Canadian reporter and correspondent for CBS News. He is best known for his long tenure on the newsmagazine 60 Minutes, which began in December 1970.

To read more about Morley Safer, visit his page on Wikipedia

Friday, September 9, 2011

Deogratias Niyizonkiza

Country of origin: Burundi

Deogratias "Deo" Niyizonkiza, a refugee from the war-torn African country of Burundi, left his homeland in 1993 with little beyond the clothes on his back. When he arrived in New York City, he didn't know a soul there, nor did he speak English. But a series of charitable deeds by complete strangers helped Niyizonkiza transform himself from a homeless immigrant to an Ivy League student — and eventually set up a health clinic back home to help those he left behind.

To read the rest of the article, visit Also here is an article about Deogratis Niyizonkiza being honored at the Women’s Refugee Commission 2010 Voices of Courage awards.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

David Ngaruri Kenney

Country of origin: Kenya

Born in the 1970s in Kenya, David Ngaruri Kenney had many conflicts with his family, especially his brothers who would often isolate him. In 1992, Kenney led a “peaceful farmer’s boycott to protest certain exploitative agricultural policies that Moi’s government had imposed on him and his fellow tea farmers."1 Because of this contribution to civic unrest, Kenney was tortured and placed in solitary confinement for several months. Upon his release, Kenney was placed under heavy surveillance and feared for his life, ultimately fleeing to the United States with the help of Peace Corps volunteers and pursuing an asylum case. Kenney is also the co-author of Asylum Denied: A Refugee’s Struggle for Safety in America.

See the rest of the article about David Ngaruri Kenney here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Marcelino Garcia

Country of origin: Mexico

The first time Marcelino “Chelino” Garcia entered the United States illegally at the age of 15, he made a silent pledge to himself.

“When I crossed the river the first time, I promised never to ask the U.S. government for anything,” Garcia said.

“And I never have. I never broke that promise.”

To read the rest of the article about Marcelino Garcia and the Chelinos Mexican Restaurant chain he founded, visit this link.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Antonio Chacon

Country of origin: Mexico

The man who saved a 6-year-old girl from a kidnapper in Albuquerque, N.M. was given a big honor by the city.

The mayor of Albuquerque declared Friday Antonio Diaz Chacon Day.

Earlier in the week, Chacon chased a man he witnessed abducting the child. The suspect crashed and was arrested.

Chacon recovered the little girl. He says he's a Mexican citizen who has been living illegally in the U.S. for four years.

To read the rest of Antonio Chacon's story go here, or here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Patricia Fennell

Country of origin: Ecuador

Patricia B. Fennell, who stands about 5-foot-3, has had an immeasurable impact on the community she holds dear. Behind her desk in the agency, nearly every inch of wall space is covered by plaques, commendations, diplomas and honors of every sort.

People who know her say Fennell can do just about everything.

And, through the Latino Community Development Agency, which she helped to found, she nearly does.

Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nadia McCaffrey

Country of origin: France

Nadia McCaffrey was born April 17, 1945 in Paris, France and married an American, Bob McCaffrey; then she immigrated to the United States. She is the founder of Angel Staff, a group of volunteers who bring a caring presence to terminally ill patients and their families. Her son and only child, Sergeant Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr. and his supervisor First Lieutenant Andre D. Tyson was killed while serving in Iraq, in an ambush near Balad, Iraq on June 22, 2004.

To find out more about Nadia McCaffrey read her page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rosemary Barkett

Country of origin: Mexico (of Syrian decent)

Rosemary Barkett (born August 29, 1939) is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Prior to her nomination for that post, she was Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, where she was the first woman ever to serve on that court.

Barkett has had an unusual career path for a judge. One of seven children who survived into adulthood, Barkett, whose birth surname is Baracatt, was born in Mexico to parents recently immigrated from Syria, Assad and Mariam Baracatt. In January, 1946, at age six, she moved to Miami, Florida. By birth she was a Mexican citizen, speaking only Spanish until she came to Miami, making Barkett the first Hispanic judge to serve on the Florida Supreme Court, as well as the first female judge and the first Arab American judge. She became a U.S. citizen in 1958.

At 17, she joined the Sisters of St. Joseph and became a nun. For almost 10 years - from 1957 to 1967, she was known as Sister St. Michael. During much of that time, from 1960 to 1968, she also taught elementary school and junior high school classes in Tampa, Jacksonville, and St. Augustine, Florida.

In 1967 Barkett left the convent because, in her own words, she believed there were other ways for her to serve humanity. She received her B.S. from Spring Hill College, summa cum laude, in 1967, and her J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law in 1970, where she graduated near the top of her class. Barkett worked as a lawyer in private practice from 1971 until 1979 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

To read more about Rosemary Barkett, read the rest of her story on Wikipedia.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Michael J. Fox

Country of origin: Canada

Michael J. Fox, OC (born Michael Andrew Fox; June 9, 1961) is a Canadian–American actor, author, producer, activist and voice-over artist. With a film and television career spanning from the late 1970s, Fox's roles have included Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990); Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties (1982-1989) for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and Mike Flaherty from Spin City (1996–2000), for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, and disclosed his condition to the public in 1998. Fox semi-retired from acting in 2000 as the symptoms of his disease worsened. He has since become an activist for research toward finding a cure. This led him to create the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and on March 5, 2010, Sweden's Karolinska Institutet gave him a honoris causa doctorate for his work in advocating a cure for Parkinson's disease.

Since 2000 Fox has mainly worked as a voice over actor in films such as Stuart Little and Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and taken minor TV roles such as in Boston Legal, The Good Wife and Scrubs. He has also released three books, Lucky Man: A Memoir (2002), Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (2010). He was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada on May 27, 2011 for his outreach and fundraising work.

To read more about Michael J. Fox, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Elizabeth Furse

Country of origin: Kenya (British citizen)

Elizabeth Furse (born October 13, 1936) is a small business owner and faculty member of Portland State University. She was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 1999, representing Oregon's 1st congressional district. She is a Democrat, and was the first person born in Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) to win election to the United States Congress.

Furse was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to British parents, and grew up in South Africa. Inspired by her mother, she became an anti-apartheid activist in 1951, joining the first Black Sash demonstration in Cape Town, South Africa.

She moved to England in 1956, before eventually moving to the United States, settling in Los Angeles, California. While in Los Angeles, she became involved in a women's self-help project in Watts, and with Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers movement, working to unionize grape farm workers. Moving to Seattle, Washington, in 1968, she became involved in American Indian/Native American rights causes including fishing and treaty rights. She became a United States citizen in 1972. Two years later, she graduated from The Evergreen State College.

In 1978, she finally settled in the Portland, Oregon, area, where she attended Northwestern School of Law. After dropping out of law school, she led the efforts of several Oregon-based American Indian/Native American tribes to win federal recognition, successfully lobbying the U.S. Congress to grant federal recognition to the Coquille, Klamath and Grand Ronde tribes. In 1986, she co-founded the Portland-based Oregon Peace Institute, establishing a mission to develop and disseminate conflict resolution curriculum in Oregon schools.

To read more about Elizabeth Furse, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pierce Brosnan

Country of origin: Ireland

Pierce Brendan Brosnan, OBE (born 16 May 1953) is an Irish actor, film producer and environmentalist. After leaving school at 16, Brosnan began training in commercial illustration, but trained at the Drama Centre in London for three years. Following a stage acting career he rose to popularity in the television series Remington Steele (1982–87).

To read more about Pierce Brosnan and the many charities and causes he supports, visit his page on Wikipedia or his official website here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gary Shteyngart

Country of origin: Russia

Gary Shteyngart (born Igor Shteyngart in 1972) is an American writer born in Leningrad, USSR. Much of his work is satirical and relies on the invention of elaborately fictitious yet somehow familiar places and times.


Shteyngart's work has received numerous awards. Absurdistan was chosen as one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review and Time magazine, as well as a book of the year by the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and many other publications. The Russian Debutante's Handbook won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction, the Book-of-the-Month Club First Fiction Award and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. It was named a New York Times Notable Book and one of the best debuts of the year by The Guardian. In 2002, he was named one of the five best new writers by Shout NY Magazine. In June 2010, Shteyngart was named as one of The New Yorker magazine's "20 under 40" luminary fiction writers.

To read more about Gary Shteyngart, visit his page on Wikipedia, or see this interview on Youtube.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Katherine Esau

Country of origin: Ukraine (of German decent)

Katherine Esau (3 April 1898 – 4 June 1997) was a German-American botanist.

She was born in Yekaterinoslav, Russian Empire (now Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) to a family of Mennonites of German descent. After the Revolution her family moved to Germany, and then to California, where she achieved her doctorate in 1931. She moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1963, and worked there until 1992. She was the sixth woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1957, and in 1989, President George Bush awarded Dr. Esau the National Medal of Science.

Esau was a pioneering plant anatomist--perhaps the greatest plant anatomist of the 20th century. Her books Plant Anatomy and Anatomy of Seed Plants have been key plant structural biology texts for the last four decades.

To read more about Katherine Esau, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Orlando Patterson

Country of origin: Jamaica

Orlando Patterson (born 1940) is a Jamaica-born American historical and cultural sociologist known for his work regarding issues of race in the America, as well as the sociology of development, currently holding the John Cowles chair in Sociology at Harvard University. Patterson took his B.Sc in Economics from the University of London and his Ph.D. in Sociology at the London School of Economics in 1965.

Earlier in his career, Patterson was concerned with the economic and political development of his home country, Jamaica. He served as Special advisor to Michael Manley, the then Prime Minister of Jamaica, from 1972 to 1979.

Patterson has appeared on PBS and has been a guest columnist in The New York Times.

To read more about Orlando Patterson, see his biograph at, or visit his page on Wikipedia.