Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Majid and Masomeh Yourdkhani

Country of origin: Iran
In December, 2005 ... the Yourdkhanis learned that the Canadian government had denied their application for political asylum, and Majid, Masomeh, and Kevin were deported to Iran. Upon their return, the Yourdkhanis say, Masomeh was imprisoned for a month, and Majid for six, and during that time he was beaten and tortured. After Majid was released, the family paid a smuggler twenty thousand dollars to procure false documents and arrange a series of flights that would return them to Canada. Then, on the last leg of the journey, the family ran into someone else’s bad luck. On February 4, 2007, during a flight from Georgetown, Guyana, to Toronto, a passenger had a heart attack and died, and the plane was forced to make an unscheduled stop in Puerto Rico. American immigration officials there ascertained that the Yourdkhanis’ travel documents were fake. The Yourdkhanis begged to be allowed to continue on to Canada, but they were told that if they wanted asylum they would have to apply for it in the United States. They did so, and, five days later, became part of one of the more peculiar, and contested, recent experiments in American immigration policy. They were locked inside a former medium-security prison in a desolate patch of rural Texas: the T. Don Hutto Residential Center.
To read the rest of the article, visit this page at The New Yorker.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mohammed Adam El-Sheikh

Country of origin: Sudan
Sheikh Mohamad Adam El-Sheikh is a Sudanese/American executive director of the Fiqh Council of North America. He graduated from the faculty of Shari’ah and Law, Omdurman Islamic University, Sudan, in 1969. In 1973 he was appointed by the Department of Justice to serve as a judge for the Shari’ah Courts. While in the Sudan he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1978, he was granted a scholarship to come to the United States in order to continue his higher education. He received his Masters of Comparative Jurisprudence (MCJ) from Howard University in 1980, his LLM from the National Law Center at George Washington University in 1981, and his Ph.D. in Comparative Jurisprudence from Temple University in 1986. His 1986 Ph.D. dissertation at Temple University was on "The applicability of Islamic penal law (qisas and diyah) in the Sudan."
To read the rest of the Wikipedia article, go here.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

John Henderson

Country of origin: Australia
John B. Henderson, Esq. is an attorney, business executive, sailor and member of the Miami Lighthouse Board. He was an American naval officer and Secretary of Defense operative during the Truman presidency. A native of Australia, John Henderson came to the U.S. with his parents as a child and settled in Brooklyn. He attended a military prep school and, later, Brown University. He was commissioned as a naval officer just before the end of the World War II.
To read the rest of the Wikipedia article about this blind activist, go here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pat Oliphant

Country of origin: Australia
Patrick Bruce "Pat" Oliphant (b. 24 July 1935 in Adelaide, Australia) is the most widely syndicated political cartoonist in the world, described by the New York Times as "the most influential cartoonist now working". His trademark is a small penguin character named Punk, who is often seen making a sarcastic comment about the subject of the panel.
To read the rest of Pat Oliphant's Wikipedia page, go here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Malek Jandali

Country of origin: Germany (Syria)
Malek Jandali (Arabic: مالك جندلي‎) (b. 1972), is a Syrian composer and pianist considered to be among the most versatile and creative musicians in the Arab world. He is the first Syrian and only Arab musician to arrange music based on the oldest music notation in the world, which was discovered in the Bronze Age city of Ugarit, Syria.
To read the rest of his Wikipedia article, go here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Benjamin W. Lee

Country of origin: Korea
Benjamin Whisoh Lee (Korean language: 이휘소, Lee Whi-soh) (January 1, 1935 - June 16, 1977) or Ben Lee, was a Korean-American theoretical physicist. His work in theoretical particle physics exerted great influence on the development of the standard model in the late 20th century especially on the renormalization of elecro-weak model and the gauge theory.
To read more about Benjamin W. Lee, read the rest of his article here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bérénice Bejo

Country of origin: Argentina
Bérénice Bejo (born July 7, 1976) is a French actress of Argentine origin, known for her role of Christiana in the 2001 film, A Knight's Tale, and for the 2011 film The Artist. Her work as Peppy Miller in the film The Artist received a nomination for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
You can read the rest of her Wikipedia article here, or see this article (also posted yesterday) about her recent Oscar nomination.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Demián Bichir

Country of origin: Mexico
Demián Bichir Nájera (born August 1, 1963) is an Academy Award-nominated Mexican actor. Both of his parents, Alejandro Bichir and Maricruz Nájera, and brothers, Odiseo and Bruno Bichir, are actors. He was married to singer Lisset Gutiérrez.
To read the rest of his Wikipedia article, go here. You can also read an article about his recent Oscar nomination here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Colette Justine

Country of origin: Tunisia
Colette Justine, better known as Colette, is a multimedia artist known for her pioneering work in performance art, street art and the constructed photograph. She is also known for her work exploring male and female gender roles, her use of different guises and personas and for her soft fabric environments where she often appears as the central element. She was born in Tunis, Tunisia, and grew up in Nice, France before becoming a naturalized American citizen. She lives and works in New York City.
To read the rest of her Wikipedia article, go here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Abuhena Saifulislam

Country of origin: Bangladesh
Abuhena Saifulislam or Abu Hena Saiful Islam, (Bengali: আবু হেনা সাইফুল ইসলাম), (born 1963) spelled as Abuhena Saifulislam in U.S. records, a Bangladeshi by birth, is the first Muslim appointed as an imam chaplain in the United States military. Born in 1963, Abu Hena went to the USA in 1989 for higher studies. He studied at the Southern New Hampshire University and received his MBA degree in 1992. That same year he joined the United States Marine Corps. Earlier he had applied for immigration to America by participating in the DV Lottery. He was granted US citizenship towards the end of 1995 while he was working in the U.S. Navy in the payroll and accounting department. After obtaining citizenship, Saiful launched his drive to become an imam in the Navy Chaplain Corps, which provides chaplains to the Marine Corps, a part of the Department of the Navy.
To read the rest of his Wikipedia article, go here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fazlur Khan

Country of origin: Bengal
Fazlur Rahman Khan (Bengali: ফজলুর রহমান খ়ান Fozlur Rôhman Khan) (April 3, 1929 - March 27, 1982) was an American architect and structural engineer. He is a central figure behind the "Second Chicago School" of architecture, and is regarded as the "Father of tubular design for high-rises". Khan, "more than any other individual, ushered in a renaissance in skyscraper construction during the second half of the twentieth century." He has been called the "Einstein of structural engineering" and the "Greatest Structural Engineer of the 20th Century" for his innovative use of structural systems that remain fundamental to modern skyscraper construction. He is widely known for his work on the John Hancock Center and the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), which was the world's tallest building for several decades.
To read the rest of the Wikipedia article, go here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Alexander Kartveli

Country of origin: Georgia (Russia)
Alexander Kartveli (Georgian: ალექსანდრე ქართველიშვილი) 1896–1974, born Kartvelishvili) was a famous and influential aircraft engineer and a pioneer of American aviation history. Kartveli achieved important breakthroughs in military aviation in the time of turbojet fighters. He is considered to be one of the most important and innovative aircraft designers in US history.
To read the rest of the Wikipedia article, go here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Constantine Papadakis

Country of origin: Greece
Papadakis (February 2, 1946 – April 5, 2009) was a Greek-American businessman and the president of Drexel University.
Read the rest of his Wikipedia page here. His biography can be read here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ignacio Mesa Viera

Country of origin: Mexico
The digital counter ticked down the remaining minutes of Ignacio Mesa Viera's dialysis treatment. 0:03, it read – three minutes to go. For all he knew, that treatment on a recent Wednesday could have been his last. He expected the U.S. government to deport him to his birth country, Mexico, the next day. "They don't understand," said the 50-year-old former tractor driver. "They are playing with my life."
To read the rest of the story of Ignacio Mesa Viera and his family, go here.

If you aren't aware of the SOPA initiative, please read the page at Wikipedia

See why they are protesting here

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hugo Ferreira

Country of origin: Angola
Hugo Ferreira (born March 7, 1974) is a Portuguese-American African-born rock musician and singer-songwriter for the band Tantric. Hugo Ferreira was born on March 7, 1974 in Luanda, Angola, which at the time was a Portuguese colony, to Portuguese colonial settlers. After the independence of Angola in 1975, his family moved to Hudson, Massachusetts in the United States. Hugo began playing the piano at around age 5. According to his biography, he began thinking about writing and composing music at 14 years of age. Before becoming a more mainstream artist, Ferreira was a member of wedding bands, dance music groups, "off-tune" rock groups, and Portuguese folklore groups. After graduating from Hudson High School in 1992, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he started the band Merge. In the course of the next four years, the band self-released a record and a six-song tape.
To read more about Hugo Ferreira, read the rest of the article at Wikipedia, or visit his website.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Daniel Zacapa

Country of origin: Honduras
Daniel Zacapa (born 1954) is an American trilingual actor, community activist, and ex-class A San Francisco Giants baseball player. He played the role of Detective Taylor in the 1995 David Fincher film, Seven. Daniel Zacapa has worked steadily from the 1970s to the 1990s, amassing a series of television credits, as well as roles in Up Close and Personal. The eldest of five children in a single parent household, Daniel Zacapa was born in Honduras as Garret Pearson, and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. As a high school student working in a mental health center with emotionally handicapped children, Zacapa saw that loving attention and respect could make a huge impact in a person's life. This understanding became the springboard for commitment in supporting youth to become expressive, responsible achievers of their own dreams. Regularly speaking to youth, Zacapa believes that, "Young people are so eager for adults to engage them on their level. Children long to be seen for their own uniqueness and need encouragement from adults to find their own path."
To read more about Daniel Zacapa, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fatima Jibrell

Country of origin: Somalia
Fatima Jibrell (Somali: Fadumo Jibriil, Arabic: فاطمة جبريل‎) is a prominent Somali-American environmental activist. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Horn of Africa Relief and Development Organization ("Horn Relief"), co-founder of Sun Fire Cooking, and was instrumental in the creation of the Women’s Coalition for Peace.
Read the rest of her story on her Wikipedia page.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Country of origin: Somalia

“Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.”
Ayaan Hirsi Magan Ali (About this sound pronunciation (help·info); Somali: Ayaan Xirsi Cali; Arabic: أيان حرسي علي‎ / ALA-LC: Ayān Ḥirsī ‘Alī; 13 November 1969) is a Somali-Dutch feminist and atheist activist, writer and politician who is known for her views as a prominent critic of Islam, as well as strongly opposing its related practices of circumcision and female genital cutting. Her screenplay for Theo van Gogh's movie Submission led to death threats, which resulted in the director's murder. She is the daughter of the Somali politician and opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse and is a founder of the women's rights organisation the AHA Foundation.
The rest of her fascinating story can be read here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Urie Bronfenbrenner

Country of origin: Russia
Urie Bronfenbrenner (April 29, 1917–September 25, 2005) was a Russian American psychologist, known for developing his Ecological Systems Theory, and as a co-founder of the Head Start program in the United States for disadvantaged pre-school children.
To read more about Urie Bronfenbrenner, visit his page at Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Robert Nalbandyan

Country of origin: Armenia
Robert Nalbandyan (1937-2002) was an Armenian chemist, the co-discoverer of photosynthetic protein plantacyanin, a pioneer in the field of free radicals, and a noted and prolific writer on various subjects in the field of chemistry. Born in Yerevan, Armenia and educated at Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia, Nalbandyan lived and worked in Yerevan for most of his life, where he also headed a laboratory and lectured. He was recognized as one of Soviet Union's most prominent chemists, and in his research collaborated with fellow chemists in the USSR, US, Europe and Australia. When the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) struck for independence in 1989, Nalbandyan became a prominent critic of the nationalist movement, which he felt was foolhardy and was merely agitating the people for political gain. The energy shortage, economic woes, and virtual blockade experienced by the tiny republic after independence seemed to justify his concerns. In 1996 he left the country and emigrated to the United States. Primarily known in the scientific community for his research work with proteins, Nalbandyan was also recognized among his fellow scientists as a progressive thinker in other fields of chemistry, including neurochemistry.
From Wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bill Rebane

Country of origin: Latvia
Baron Bill Rebane (born February 8, 1937) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for low budget horror movies such as Twist Craze and The Giant Spider Invasion. Rebane also ran for the governor of Wisconsin in 1979 and 2002 as the American Reform Party candidate. Rebane came to the United States from Estonia in 1952 at age 15. His mother was Latvian and his father, Arnold Rebane, was Estonian. He attended school in post-war Germany as a child, becoming conversant in four languages: Estonian, Latvian, German and Russian. By watching American cinema, he was able to master English. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago/Goodman Theater, majoring in drama.
To read the rest of his Wikipedia article, go here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lauri Vaska

Country of origin: Estonia
Lauri Vaska (born May 7, 1925, in Rakvere, Estonia) is an Estonian-born chemist who has made noteworthy contributions to organometallic chemistry. Vaska was educated at the Baltic University in Hamburg, Germany (1946) and subsequently at the Universität Göttingen (1946–1949) where he received his vordiplom (equivalent to the American B.S. degree). He pursued his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Texas in the United States (1952–1956). He was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University (1956–1957) where he conducted research on magnetochemistry. In 1957 he took a position as Fellow at the Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh where he remained until 1964. During that time, the Mellon Institute housed a number of future chemical luminaries, include Paul Lauterbur and R. Bruce King. Vaska moved as an associate professor to Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York where, since 1990, he remains Professor Emeritus of Chemistry.
The rest of his story can be read at Wikipedia.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Michael J. Jacobs

Country of origin: England

From Wikipedia:
Michael J. Jacobs (born May 25, 1952 in London, England) is a photojournalist turned feature film director and motion picture studio owner. Michael Jacobs has three decades of professional experience as a photojournalist. Assignments have taken him to nearly 70 countries, in every continent. During the Vietnam War Michael spent two years as a photojournalist and aircrewman in the U.S. Navy's elite Combat Camera Group. He later documented the opening of the new South Pole Station. With nearly thirty years photographing the entertainment industry, he has worked on more than 200 film, television, video and music productions. His photographic collection contains nearly two million images. Of these, more than 10,000 images and 500 articles have been published. In 2004, along with his wife Ruby Handler Jacobs, he founded the Rio Grande Studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2006 he made his debut at the helm of award-winning Crab Orchard starring Edward Asner, Judge Reinhold and Ruby Handler. They are reported to have signed an agreement to co-produce a $50 million action thriller.
I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Jacobs and his wife several months ago, and I must say they are both truly remarkable people.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

David Rozgonyi

Country of origin: Libya
David Rozgonyi (born in 1976 in Libya) to Tibor Rozgonyi, a professor and mining engineer, and Agnes Somkuti Rozgonyi, a portraitist. Both parents were Hungarian nationals, and the family moved from Libya to (then) West Germany before relocating to Socorro, New Mexico, USA and later to Bryan, Texas, USA, where the family was naturalized as United States citizens in 1986. In 1990, the family relocated to Wollongong, NSW, Australia, where they lived until 1994. In 1994, Rozgonyi moved to Sydney, where he enrolled at the University of Sydney in pursuit of a degree in Psychology. However, when the family decided to relocate to Denver, Colorado, one year later, Rozgonyi transferred to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he lived from 1996 until 2007.
To read the rest of his Wikipedia article, go here, or visit his blog here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Aida Touré

Country of origin: Gabon
Touré was born in Gabon to a Malian Muslim father and a Gabonese mother. She later attended high school in France where she generated a distinct interest across the arts. In 1995, she moved to New York to study music. During this creative journey, she felt pulled toward the practice of Islam which was to have a profound impact on the nature of her creations. Sufism, the inner dimension of Islam inspired her to produce poetic works of a spiritual nature.
To read the rest of her Wikipedia article, go here. You can also read more at her website.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ra Un Nefer Amen

Country of origin: Panama
Ra Un Nefer Amen (born Rogelio Alcides Straughn, on January 6, 1944) is the founder of the Ausar Auset Society, a Pan-African religious organization dedicated to providing Afrocentric based spiritual training to people of African descent. Ra Un Nefer Amen was born in the Central American country of Panama. His initial exposure to African culture came through his visits to the island of San Miguel where many enslaved Africans had escaped to after being brought to Panama in the 18th century by Spaniards to work in the gold mines. These Africans, of primarily East and Central African descent, have been able to maintain much of their traditional culture through the intervening period. It was the early experiences of this phenomenon that shaped his young self. Amen attended Panama's Conservatory of Music when he was six years old. He arrived in the United States on May 30, 1960 to continue his formal musical training and graduated from the Brooklyn High School for Boys in Brooklyn, New York in 1961. Upon graduating, Amen continued his formal training at Juilliard Prep (Pre-College Division) and Mannes College of Music.
To read more about Ra Un Nefer Amen, see the rest of his page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wangari Maathai

Country of origin: Kenya
Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. In 1986, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace." Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. In 2011, Maathai died of complications from ovarian cancer.
Read the rest of the Wikipedia article here, and you can find an article about her at npr.org.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Anthony Athanas

Country of origin: Albania Anthony Athanas (July 28, 1911 – May 20, 2005) was a multi-millionaire Albanian-American restaurateur and philanthropist. His restaurants include Anthony's Pier 4, one of the most successful in the USA. In 1976 the National Restaurant Association named him Restaurateur of the Year.
Born in Korçë, southern Albania, then part of the Ottoman Empire, on July 28, 1911, he and his mother Evangeline traveled on a donkey to a port and emigrated to Bedford, New York in 1915–16, where his father, who was a mason, and siblings had settled. At the age of thirteen Athanas left school and worked in several restaurants until 1938, when he bought his first restaurant: Anthony's Hawthorne Café in Lynn, Massachusetts, which by the early 1950s had become the highest-grossing restaurant in Massachusetts, with profits of more than $1 million annually. In 1963, he opened Anthony's Pier 4, which by the early 1980s was grossing about $12 million annually and was the highest-grossing restaurant in the United States. His other restaurants include the Hawthorne by-the-sea Tavern in Swampscott, Massachusetts, and Anthony's Cummaquid Inn in Yarmouth Port.
Read the rest of the Wikipedia article here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sehat Sutardja

Country of origin: Indonesia
Sehat Sutardja (Chinese: 周秀文; pinyin: Zhōu Xiùwén; born c. 1961 in Jakarta, Indonesia), is the CEO, chairman, and co-founder of Marvell Technology Group. He has been awarded more than 150 patents and is a fellow of IEEE. In 2006, Dr. Sutardja was recognized as the Inventor of the Year by the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association. He is married to a Shang Hai-born Weili Dai, and is the brother of Pantas Sutardja, both co-founders of Marvell and both also from the University of California, Berkeley as Dr. Sehat Sutardja. Now, both of them are vice president and director, respectively.
To read more about Sehat Sutardja, see his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Xu Xi

Country of origin: Hong Kong
Xu Xi, (originally named Xu Su Xi(许素细) (born 1954) is an English language novelist from Hong Kong. She is also the Hong Kong regional editor of Routledge's Encyclopedia of Post-colonial Literature (second edition, 2005) and the editor or co-editor of the following anthologies of Hong Kong writing in English: Fifty-Fifty: New Hong Kong Writing (2008), City Stage: Hong Kong Playwriting in English (2005), and City Voices: Hong Kong Writing in English Prose & Poetry from 1945 to the present. Her work has also been anthologized internationally. Hong Kong magazines such as Muse run her writings from time to time and her fiction and essays have appeared recently in various literary journals such as Wasifiri (London), Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts (Durango, Colorado), Hotel Amerika (Chicago), Upstreet (Richmond, Massachusetts), and Asia Literary Review (Hong Kong).
To read more about Xu Xi, read the rest of her Wikipedia page, or see this interview.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

George Maciunas

Country of origin: Lithuania
George Maciunas (Lithuanian: Jurgis Mačiūnas, pronounced ma-chew-nas; born 8 November 1931 in Kaunas, Lithuania; died 9 May 1978 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States) was a Lithuanian-born American artist. He was a founding member of Fluxus, an international community of artists, architects, composers, and designers. Other leading members brought together by this movement included Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys, George Brecht, Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, Wolf Vostell, and Dick Higgins. He is most famous for organising and performing early happenings and for assembling a series of highly influential artists' multiples.
To read more about George Maciunas, visit his page on Wikipedia.