Thirty-One Exceptional "New Americans" Are Named Soros Fellows For 2007
Three Iranian-Americans, Shelli Farhadian, K. Cyrus Habib and Keyan Salari, are among thirty-one finalists in the tenth annual competition for the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.
The program was established in 1997 by Paul and Daisy Soros of New York as a charitable trust of fifty million dollars to support graduate study by New Americans - immigrants and children of immigrants. From over 800 applications representing 141 national origins and 360 colleges and universities, the thirty-one were selected for the two-year fellowships by panels composed of New Americans.
Selected for this honor by an
independent panel that is itself made up of distinguished New Americans, the
Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows receive for two years one-half of the tuition
cost of their graduate study at any institution of higher education in the
Among those appointed are:
· a child of naturalized US citizen parents from India, growing up in Georgia and receiving his undergraduate degree at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, to begin an MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, after several years with McKinsey & Co., four years in the US Air Force as a captain, and now chief of staff to the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, to prepare for a career in global security technology and serving the national interest;
Three had Rhodes scholarships, two
The 2007 Soros Fellows are:
The Fellowships were established in
1997. It is funded by income from a charitable trust of $65 million created by
philanthropists Paul and Daisy Soros, of
More particularly, the Soros program has helped, among other degree recipients, 68 MDs, 52 JDs, 50 PhDs, 22 MBAs, 14 MFAs and 36 other master's complete their academic programs.
"We founded the Fellowship program
to encourage young people with demonstrated leadership qualities, much like the
In addition to the relevance of graduate study to a candidate's long-term goals, there are three criteria for candidates:
· creativity, originality, and initiative, demonstrated in any area of her/his life;
· commitment to and capacity for accomplishment, demonstrated through activity that has required drive and sustained effort; and
commitment to the values expressed
As it has been for the 262 predecessors, the Soros Fellowship will be important to the thirty-one new Fellows: they will be able to study fulltime; they will reduce their dependence on student loans; they will be able to chose summer experiences more in keeping with their career goals and not with an eye towards paying next year's tuition, and they can plan their futures in the fields they consider important and not those that will pay off their debts more quickly.
The finalists were interviewed in
15 are women, and 16 are men. The average age is 25. 87% attended private undergraduate colleges and universities, while among those already in graduate school, 82% are in private universities. 58% are in or planning to attend medical and law school. Eighteen members of the Class of 2007 were born in the US; the others came as adults or as children, often as refugees from oppression. In terms of national origins: Africa (1); East Asia (9); South Asia (8); Southeast Asia (3); Middle East (7); Latin America and the Caribbean (5), Eastern Europe (3), and Western Europe (4).
The entire roster of Soros Fellows (with this group now 293 in number) truly represents the world. Sixty-six separate countries are the origins of their immigration history. In their number are Jews; Baha'i; Sunni, Shi'ite, and Ismaili Muslims; Protestant, Orthodox, Syrian, Coptic and Catholic Christians; Shamanists; Confucians; Theravadic, Mahayana and Zen Buddhists; all varieties of Hinduism; Sikh, Jains; agnostics and atheists. The 293 Fellows hail from 33 US states and the District of Columbia, though most concentrated in states with the largest immigration. While several grew up in suburbs, sixteen spent their early lives in refugee camps. Many of the parents are professionals, though often practicing in underserved areas; others are children of migrant farm workers, small businesspeople, household workers, and factory workers. Some were orphaned and effectively raised themselves. About half have parents who went to college; indeed immigration was a vehicle for them to do so.
The 2007 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows were selected by a panel of 41 distinguished New Americans. They are:
· Mustafa Abadan, partner, Skidmore Owings & Merrill;
· Leonardo Arriola, PhD candidate in political science at Stanford University;
· Babacar Cisse, MD/PhD candidate, College of Physicians, Columbia University;
· Benjamin Chong, dermatology resident in Detroit, MI;
· Gilbert Chu, professor of medicine & biochemistry, Stanford University;
· John Espinoza, poet, adjunct professor at National Hispanic University;
· Mill Etienne, fellow in epilepsy & neurophysiology at Columbia University;
· Roben Farzad, staff writer for Business Week;
· Maximo Flugelman, financier and composer;
· Barry Gaberman, executive vice president emeritus, The Ford Foundation;
· Suzanne Goh, fellows in pediatric neurology, University of California at San Francisco;
· J. Michael Graglia, project officer, International Finance Corporation;
· Neil Hattangadi, associate, McKinsey & Company;
· Joseph Hennawi, Hubble Fellow, University of California at Berkeley;
· Marife Hernandez Bell, president, The Cultural Communications Group;
· Paul Holdengraber, Director of Public Programs, New York Public Library;
· Bert Huang, completing PhD in economics at Harvard University;
· Jerry Kang, professor of law, UCLA ;
· Marshall Kaplan, director, Merage Foundation;
· Navneet Kathuria, vice chair of quality assurance, dept. of medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine;
· Jin "PJ" Kim, Director, FoodChange;
· Miwon Kwon, professor of contemporary art, UCLA;
· Frederic J. Laffont, CFO, Coatue Management LLC;
· Erik Lee, program officer, Merage Foundation;
· Ankur Luthra, vice president, Summit Partners;
· Mehret Mandefro, resident in primary care, Montefiore Medical Center;
· Guillermo Mayer, staff attorney for Public Advocates, Inc.;
· John Mollenkopf, professor of political science & sociology, CUNY Graduate Center;
· Edward Muecke, Clinical Professor of Urology, Cornell University;
· N.J. Nicholas Jr., president, Navy Walk Partners;
· Marie Nugent-Head, President, Printempia;
· Alma Ruiz, curator, Museum of Contemporary Art; Los Angeles
· Thomas A Saenz, Counsel, Mayor of the City of Los Angeles;
· Patricia Sanchez, assistant professor, University of Texas at San Antonio;
· Anika Singh, Skadden Fellow, Urban Justice Center;
· Quinh Thai, consultant;
· Dean Valentine, President & Founder, First Family Entertainment;
· Marica Vilcek, art historian and philanthropist;
· Alice Wang, attorney, DC Public Defender Service;
· Deborah Yeh, ophthalmology resident, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor;
The deadline for applications for the next round of Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans is Saturday, November 1, 2007. Qualified applicants may obtain information at the website at www.pdsoros.org.
Daisy Margaret Soros
Daisy Margaret Soros grew up in Hungary and graduated from Ecole Hotelier in Lausanne, Switzerland. She came to the US on a student visa, enrolling at Columbia University. She later attended New York School of Interior Design, studied at NYU School of Social Work, and worked extensively as a counselor to terminally ill patients and their families. She is a Member of the Board of Lincoln Center, a Member of the Board & Executive Committee of the New York Philharmonic, Honorary Trustee of International House; Member of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College, Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Venetian Heritage Inc., and the Mayors Fund to Advance New York City; and Executive Committee Member of the Rockefeller University Council. She and her husband underwrite The Midsummer Night Swing Program of Lincoln Center. Mrs. Soros was the recipient of the Metro International Fulbright Award, Lincoln Center Laureate Award, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, International House Harry Edmonds Award, the Casita Maria Gold Medal of Honor, The National Immigration Forum's "Keepers of the American Dream Award," was honored by the Henry Street Settlement and received an honorary Doctor of Laws at Bates College in Maine. Daisy and her husband, Paul, have two sons, Peter and Jeffrey. Peter is involved in finance and lives in England with his wife, Flora Fraser, the renowned writer, and their two sons. Jeffrey, a screenwriter and philanthropist involved in contemporary art, resides in California with his wife and two children.
Born in Hungary in 1926, Paul Soros studied mechanical engineering in Budapest. When a Communist government came to power, he began looking for a chance to escape. In 1948, as a member of the Hungarian ski team at the Olympic games in Switzerland, he defected. Having made his way to the US, he took a master's degree in engineering from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn. In 1956, he founded Soros Associates, an international engineering firm that eventually had port development, offshore terminal, and bulk handling projects in 90 countries. Mr. Soros holds several patents in material handling and offshore technology and is the author of more than a hundred technical articles. He served on the Review Panel of the President's Office of Science and Technology and received the Gantt Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award of the National Society of Professional Engineers. He is now active in Paul Soros Investments, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a board member of several corporations and non-profit organizations. Last May, he received an honorary Doctor of Law at Bates College, ME.
Warren Ilchman grew up in Colorado. He is a graduate of Brown University with a doctorate from the University of Cambridge where he was a Marshall Scholar. With a career in higher education spanning almost forty years, he has taught and administered in several institutions including Williams College, Boston University, Harvard University, University of California at Berkeley, SUNY and Indiana University. He has served as a consultant to many countries, foundations and international agencies including the Governments of India, Nepal, and China; the Rockefeller Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the World Bank, USAID, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Department of Education. He has authored or edited eighteen books, the most recent of which is entitled The Lucky Few and the Worthy Many: Selecting the World's Future Leaders (Indiana University Press, 2004). His field of expertise is philanthropy and public policy. He has been with the Program since its inception on January 7th, 1998. He is on the boards of the General Theological Seminary and Westchester Community Foundation. In the Fall of 2002 and 2003, he was a Distinguished Ella Walker Fellow at the Rockefeller Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy, where among other things, he convened with his wife an international conference on nationally and internationally competitive scholarships.
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