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.