Category: Immigrant of the Week

Jawed Karim, Co-founder of Youtube

Jawed Karim was born in Merseburg, East Germany in 1979. His father, Naimul Karim, is a Muslim Bangladeshi who works as a researcher at 3M and his mother, Christine, is a German scientist of biochemistry at the University of Minnesota. He crossed the old East-West German border with his family in 1981 and grew up in Neuss, […]

Max Levchin, Cofounder of PayPal

Maksymilian Rafailovych “Max” Levchyn was born in in Kiev in 1975 to a Ukrainian Jewish family. In 1991 he moved to the United States under political asylum and settled in Chicago.  In an interview with Emily Chang of Bloomberg, Levchin discussed overcoming adversity as a child. He had respiratory problems and doctors doubted his chances of survival. He took up […]

Eduardo Saverin, Facebook Cofounder

Eduardo Luiz Saverin was born in São Paulo, Brazil, to a wealthy Jewish Brazilian family. In 1993, the family immigrated to the U.S., settling in Miami. Saverin attended Harvard University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics. During his junior year at Harvard, Saverin met fellow Harvard undergraduate, Mark Zuckerberg. Noting the lack of a dedicated social networking website […]

Arianna Huffington, Founder of The Huffington Post

Huffington was born in Athens, Greece and at the age of 16 moved to the United Kingdom to study economics at Girton College in Cambridge. Here, she became the first foreign, and third female President of the Cambridge Union. Huffington began writing books in the 1970s, with editorial help from Benard Levin, the love of her life, mentor and role model. The two traveled to […]

Sergey Brin, Co-founder of Google

Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin is a Russian-born American computer scientist, internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist who, together with Larry Page, he co-founded Google. Brin is also the President of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. As of July 2017, Brin is the 12th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$45 billion. Brin immigrated to the United States with […]

71% of Washington DC Chefs Are Immigrants

If the proposed immigrant and travel ban in the U.S. goes ahead, the capital – Washington DC – may go hungry. According to, the website of the District of Colombia’s Office of Revenue Analysis, a whopping 71% of chefs in the Washington D.C. area are immigrants. With so many big mouths to feed, and […]

Lupita Nyong’o: Mexican-born Kenyan Actress

Lupita Amondi Nyong’o is a Mexican-Kenyan actress, born in Mexico to Kenyan parents and raised in Kenya. Her parents, Dorothy and Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, were in political exile at the time of her birth, but managed to return to their homeland of Kenya during their daughter’s childhood. Her father later became part of the country’s senate while […]

Florian Picasso: Musician, DJ, Record Producer

Twenty-seven-year-old Florian Ruiz-Picasso, better known as Florian Picasso, is a French DJ and record producer who is a great-grandson of the well-known artist, Pablo Picasso. He was born in Vietnam and adopted by Marina Picasso, the granddaughter of Pablo Picasso. Florian has gained recognition for collaborations with 20-year-old Dutch DJ superstar Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki, the […]

Mila Kunis: Actress

Milena Markovna “Mila” Kunis, born August 14, 1983, is an American actress who moved to Los Angeles from Ukraine in 1991 at the age of seven. After being enrolled in acting classes as an after-school activity, she was soon discovered by an agent. She appeared in several television series and commercials, before acquiring her first […]

Pierre Morad Omidyar: Founder of eBay

Pierre Morad Omidyar, born June 21, 1967, is a French-born Iranian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the founder of the eBay auction site where he served as chairman from 1998 to 2015. Omidyar was born in Paris, the son of Iranian immigrant parents who had been sent to France by their parents to attend university. […]

Mo Farah: British Track Athlete

Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama “Mo” Farah is a British distance runner, originally from Somalia. Born in 1983 Farah moved to the UK as a child. He was originally based in London and ran for Newham and Essex Beagles athletics club. He is the European record holder for the 1,500 meters, 10,000 meters and half marathon. He […]

Tan Le: Co-founder of Emotiv

Tan Le is a Vietnamese-Australian telecommunications entrepreneur who co-founded brain monitoring company Emotiv. Born in South Vietnam, Le migrated to Australia as a refugee with her family in 1982. She began university studies at the age of 16 and completed a bachelor’s degree in law and commerce at Monash University. Her first venture was SASme, a pioneer […]

Shubhankar Ray: Former Global Brand Director, G-Star

Shubhankar Ray is the former global brand director of Amsterdam-based denim label G-Star. Born in Calcutta, India, in 1968, Ray moved to Manchester, England, where he studied chemistry before moving into fashion branding. He began his career reinventing global fashion and lifestyle brands – a career that has spanned 20 years.  Ray is mostly known […]

Rita Ora: Singer, Actress and Fashion Designer

Rita Sahatçiu Ora is a British singer, fashion designer and actress who rose to prominence in February 2012 when she was featured on DJ Fresh’s single, “Hot Right Now”, which reached number one in the UK. She was born in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia (present-day Kosovo) to Albanian parents. Her mother, Vera is a psychiatrist, and […]

Dietrich Mateschitz: Founder of Red Bull

Dietrich Mateschitz is an Austrian billionaire businessman who co-founded the Red Bull energy drink company, and holds 49% of the company’s shares. His net worth, as of August 2016, is estimated to be $14.7 billion. Mateschitz was born in Austria to a family of Croatian ancestry. As the international marketing director for German company Blendax he […]

Jung Chang: Chinese-born British Writer

Jung Chang is a Chinese-born British writer now living in London, best known for her family autobiography Wild Swans, selling over 10 million copies worldwide but banned in the People’s Republic of China. Her 832-page biography of Mao Zedong, Mao: The Unknown Story, written with her husband, the Irish historian Jon Halliday, was published in […]

Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s Grandfather

A German historian, Roland Paul, has uncovered a local council letter from 1905 informing Donald Trump’s grandfather Friedrich Trump – who had become a United States citizen – that he would not be granted his German citizenship back and that he had eight weeks to leave the country or be deported. He also claimed that Trump had illegally […]

Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General of Canada

The 26th Governor General of Canada (1999-2005), Adrienne Clarkson is universally acknowledged to have transformed the office during her six years at Rideau Hall and to have left an indelible mark on Canada’s history.  Clarkson was born in Hong Kong and came to Canada as a refugee in 1942. Her family settled in Ottawa, where she […]

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo

Born in Madras, India, the future CEO of PepsiCo grew up conservative and middle-class, studying physics, chemistry, and math. Her determination to study in the U.S. brought her to Yale University’s Graduate School of Management in 1978.  Despite financial aid from Yale, Nooyi worked nights as a receptionist. She went in for interviews wearing a sari […]

Hamdi Ulukaya: The Turkish Immigrant Who Just Made Americans Richer

Hamdi Ulukaya is an immigrant from Turkey who came to the USA with nothing and within 10 years is running a Yogurt company worth billions. He just gave 10% of the company to his employees – worth 100,000’s of dollars for each employee. He also gave $700m to Syrian refugees. Ulukaya is the owner, founder, Chairman, […]

Zaha Mohammad Hadid: From Iraq to Redefining Global Cities

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid (31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016) was an Iraqi-born British architect. She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. Hadid was born in Baghdad, Iraq. Her father, Muhammad al-Hajj Husayn Hadid, was a wealthy industrialist from Mosul, Iraq. He co-founded the left-liberal al-Ahali group in Iraq in […]

Jerry Yang, Founder of Yahoo

Yang was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1968, and his father died two years later. He moved with the rest of his family to San Jose, California when he was eight years old. Upon arriving in America, Yang knew just one word of English: “shoe.” But in spite of these massive disadvantages, Yang excelled in […]

Charlize Theron: From African Farm to Hollywood

Charlize Theron is a South African and American actress and film producer who has starred in several Hollywood films, such as The Devil’s Advocate, The Italian Job, Hancock and more recently, Mad Max: Fury Road. Theron was born in Benoni, in the then-Transvaal Province of South Africa, the only child of Gerda and Charles Theron. […]

Albert Einstein: Genius, Inventor, Scientist, Immigrant

In February 1933 while on a visit to the United States, Einstein knew he could not return to Germany with the rise to power of the Nazis under Germany’s new chancellor, Adolf Hitler. He and his wife Elsa returned to Belgium by ship in March, and during the trip they learned that their cottage was […]