P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Paul and Daisy Soros, Hungarian immigrants and American philanthropists, established their Fellowship program for New Americans—immigrants and children of immigrants—in December of 1997 with a charitable trust of fifty million dollars. They created the program as a way to give back to the country that had afforded their family such great opportunities.

Mr. and Mrs. Soros decided on a fellowship program because it allowed them to assist young New Americans at critical points in their educations, which they felt was an unmet need. They also wished to call attention to the extensive and diverse contributions of New Americans to the quality of life in the United States.

In 2010, Mr. and Mrs. Soros contributed an additional twenty five million to the charitable trust that funds their Fellowships for New Americans. For details, see the Wall Street Journal article.

Mr. Soros passed away on Saturday June 15, 2013 at the age of 87. His inspiring personal story, his commitment to American constitutional democracy, and his visionary philanthropy are fundamental to the Fellowship program. A New York Times obituary detailing his life story and many contributions is available online

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans is a $90,000 merit-based fellowship exclusively for immigrants and children of immigrants who are pursuing graduate school in the United States. The program draws more than 1,800 applications annually for just 30 fellowships. 

The rigorous selection process is focused on identifying the most promising New Americans who are poised to make significant contributions to the nation through their work. As a nonpartisan organization, the selection team looks for a commitment to the United States’ fundamental principles and ideals. The Fellows can study in any degree-granting program in any field at any university in the United States. Selection is based on merit – the specific selection criteria emphasize creativity, originality, initiative and sustained accomplishment. Neither financial need nor distributive considerations are taken into account in the selection process. Each Fellows attends two weekend conferences of Fellows. The great majority continue to be involved with the program through regional dinners, service in the selection process for later classes, and through the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows Association.

A Network of Immigrant Excellence

  • History: In its 25 year history, The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans has built a community of over 770 immigrants and children of immigrants.
  • Nationalities: The Fellowship has supported New Americans with heritage in 90 countries. India, China, and Mexico are the most well represented.
  • Types of Immigrants: In addition to the children of immigrants, Green Card holders, naturalized citizens, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, the Fellowship also supports individuals who have come to the United States as refugees or asylum seekers and who have received a Green Card or become naturalized US citizens. The Fellowship also supports immigrants who were born abroad and graduated from both high school and college in the United States. 
  • Age: All of our Fellows are 30 or younger as of the application deadline for the year they applied. Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows from the 1998 class, the very first class, are now in their mid-careers.
  • Careers: Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows have pursued careers in medicine, science, law, policy, technology, business, government, non-profits, the arts, academia, and in many cases they have built their career across several sectors.


A Fellowship for Immigrants & Children of Immigrants

The map below shows where many of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows and their families are from around the world (the green icons), as well as where they immigrated to in the United States (the blue icons). Click on any icon to see which Fellow it represents and to learn more about their story. You can also zoom in and out of the map below, or you can view the map in a new window on your browser by clicking here.

Note that this map only includes a portion of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows; it is not a complete representation of the Fellows.

Notable Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows

The program supports Fellows in a range of fields. Search all current and past Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows by expertise, topic area, institution, and heritage here

  • US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy (1998 Fellow) – Vivek was born in England and is the child of Indian immigrants.
  • Former California Surgeon General Nadine Burke-Harris (1999 Fellow) – Nadine was born in Canada and was raised partially in Jamaica and the United States.
  • Olympic Gold Medalist Amy Chow (2003 Fellow) – Amy was a member of the Magnificent Seven and the first Asian American to bring home a Gold in gymnastics. She is the child of immigrants from China and Hong Kong.
  • Scientist and CEO Tony Pan (2010 Fellow) – Tony is an inventor of 150+ patents pending, spanning fields such as energy, nanotechnology, electronics, and biomedical devices. He is Co-founder and CEO of Modern Electron, in Bellevue WA, where he is leading the development of a new technology in order to make electricity cheaper and far more universally available. Tony grew up in Taiwan, Scotland, and Korea.
  • Author Kao Kalia Yang (2003 Fellow) – Kalia is the author of the award-winning book, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir (Coffee House Press, 2008) and the book, The Song Poet (Metropolitan Books, 2016). Kalia was born in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in Thailand, where her family had fled to escape the ethnic cleansing of the Hmong, a preliterate highland tribal people who fought with the American soldiers during the Vietnam War. After six years in the refugee camp, the family moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where they have lived since.
  • Computational Biologist Pardis Sabeti (2001 Fellow) – TIME's Persons of the Year in 2014 (Ebola Fighters), Pardis is a leading professor and researcher at Harvard and MIT and a member of the Broad Institute. She is an immigrant from Iran.
  • Leading Artificial Intelligence Scientist Fei-Fei Li (1999 Fellow) – Fei-Fei was the chief scientist of artificial intelligence and machine learning at Google Cloud and is the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab. She is an immigrant from China.
  • Public Health Leader Nirav Shah (2005 Fellow) – Nirav was the Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and now works for the national CDC. Nirav is the child of immigrants from India.
  • Venture Capitalist Zaw Thet (2003 Fellow) – A Founding Partner of Signia Venture Partners, Zaw is focused on early-stage tech investing and on creating a new model of venture capital. His family immigrated from Burma and Zaw was born in the United States.
  • Lawyer and Diplomat Julissa Reynoso (1999 Fellow) – Julissa is the United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. She was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the South Bronx in 1982.
  • Former Lieutenant Governor of Washington State Cyrus Habib (2007 Fellow) – Cyrus was the first blind lawmaker elected in 50 year, and the first Iranian-American elected in the US. A Seattle native, he was born to parents who emigrated from Iran in the 1970s.
  • Award-Winning Composer, Poet, Concert Pianist and Visual Artist Lera Auerbach (1998 Fellow) – Lera has published more than 100 works for opera, ballet, orchestral and chamber music, and performs as concert pianist throughout the world. Her ballets and operas have been produced in major theaters on every continent, including the Hamburg State Opera, Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, New York’s Lincoln Center, and the National Ballet of Canada. She is an immigrant from Russia.
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