The historic synagogue Sixth & I, in partnership with 7 Days of Genius, and in collaboration with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in honor of the 35th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows Program, invited three Fellows—Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sarajevo-born author Aleksandar Hemon, and Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, who is the daughter of immigrants from Bolivia—to talk about their pioneering work as it relates to immigration. The conversation was moderated by Cecilia Conrad, the Managing Director of the Fellows Program.
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Adichie is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus; Half of a Yellow Sun; Americanah, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction; the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck; and We Should All Be Feminists, a TED talk which was later published as a book. In her other TED talk, which has 9.7 million views, she warns of the danger of a “single story.”
Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project, a finalist for the National Book Award, and the short story collections The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, and Love and Obstacles. He visited Chicago in 1992, intending to stay for a few of months. While there, Sarajevo came under siege, and he was unable to return home. He wrote his first story in English in 1995.
Muñoz is a longtime leader in immigration and civil rights policy who now oversees the domestic policy-making process in the White House. Before joining the Administration, she served as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization.
Conrad had a distinguished career as both an economics professor and an administrator at Pomona College before joining the MacArthur Foundation. A winner of California’s Carnegie Professor of the Year award, Conrad’s academic research focuses on the effects of race and gender on economic status.
This program was made possible by the generosity of the Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies.
Below are some photos from the event. Photos taken by Bruce Guthrie.