Recently, The New York Times’ Frank Bruni wrote an op-ed highlighting how immigrants are over-represented among recipients of several prominent awards including the MacArthur Fellowship.

He writes:

Of the 965 geniuses (or, more properly, MacArthur fellows) to date, 209 were born outside the United States, according to Cecilia Conrad, who leads the fellowship program. That’s 21.7 percent. The 2010 census determined that less than 13 percent of the American population is foreign-born.

Bruni concluded:

They [immigrants] come with a sort of hunger and a kind of gaze that don’t subtract from what those of us already here have but, instead, add to it. They give us insights, inventions, art. Embracing their genius is the genius of America.

MacArthur’s Cecilia Conrad said that the immigrants who become MacArthur Fellows are often inspired by “the experience of dislocation, of navigating a new culture and a new set of norms.” Many MacArthur Fellows are immigrants or children of immigrants, and many more are inspired by their stories. Click here to read quotes from them.

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