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.