iforeignborn

iForeignBorn educates, informs and inspires people from around the world. You may live in a country you weren’t born in, or travel across the world. We promote respect for all differences of all peoples of the world. These iForeignBorn stories are interviews with people from around the world who have come to live in the United States of America.

Iraqi American Woman Finds Cleveland Ohio Beautiful Place to Live

We first met Ms. Ayat Amin (she/her/hers) when she spoke eloquently at the 2020 International Women’s Day rally that took place at Cleveland City Hall in March. At that time, we spoke to Ayat and learned that she is a “Marketing and Customer Success Lead” for The Opportunity Exchange where her duties include supporting city, county, and state economic development offices. Perhaps one of the reasons for her eloquence was that

Read More »

Meet Dr. Swagata Banik – Indian Immigrant

For PRIDE month, June of 2020, Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC sought to interview an immigrant for “I, Foreign-Born” who was both LGBTQI and an individual of accomplishment. Accordingly, we asked our good friend, Ms. Alana Jochum, Executive Director of Equality Ohio, for a suggestion and she replied that she could not think of anyone more appropriate than her good friend, Dr. Swagata Banik, Chair and Professor of Public

Read More »

Meet John O’Brien – Irish Immigrant

Anyone who knows anything about the Irish diaspora in Cleveland knows Mr. John O’Brien who, since 1996, has served as president of the West Side Irish American Club in Olmsted Township and not only founded our annual Irish Cultural Festival in 1982 but coordinated it every year since that time. We were thus very glad when John consented to grant us an interview at his home in Fairview Park where we

Read More »

Meet Ms. Bridie Joyce – Irish Immigrant

It is hard to believe that anyone could have a more agreeable personality than Ms. Bridie Joyce who we have gotten to know over the years due to mutual participation in activities at the West Side Irish American Club (WSIA) in Olmsted Falls; in fact, in February 2014 she was named its Mother of the Year! Accordingly, we asked her for an interview for “I, Foreign-Born” which she was not

Read More »

I, Foreign-Born from Belarus

We arrived at the Kielbasa Cookout on Fleet Avenue in Slavic Village where we met Ms. Lily Zbarashewski, who immigrated to the United States from Belarus in 2001, and was well-acquainted with all kinds of kielbasa and shared this knowledge with us. We remembered our visit as being delightful so we decided to request an interview for “I, Foreign-Born” which she graciously granted. We thus spent the early part of

Read More »

Inspiring Student from Columbia

We first met Mr. Sam Paredes at the Esperanza banquet on June 21st where he received a scholarship (donated by our friend, Mr. Bernie Moreno) and gave a moving testimony about how he came to the US from Colombia to pursue his educational goals and how much Esperanza assisted him in terms of mastering the English language as well as familiarizing him with the U.S. culture. Less than two weeks

Read More »

Ms. Jie Yao from China

We first met Ms. Jie (Jay) Yao at the Chinese Women Association of Cleveland’s Summer Potluck on Sunday, August 18, 2019, in Lakewood Park. We conversed with her and learned that she immigrated to the United States with her family in 2000 after living for five years in New Zealand. A realtor by profession who works with Re/Max Haven Realty, Jay impressed us as being charming and knowledgeable so we asked

Read More »

Sid Cukali from Albania

We first met Mr. Sidrit “Sid” Cukali at the Global Cleveland Sister Cities Conference on May 2nd at the Louis Stokes Wing of the downtown Cleveland Public Library where he helped to organize Albania’s participation in the event. Mr. Cukali is devoted to the Albanian community and the Global Cleveland Organization. Sid planned a break-out session in which Cleveland City Councilperson Dona Brady (and others) communicated with Ms. Dorella Dollakaj

Read More »

Restaurateur and Entrepreneur from Jordan

On March 13th, 2019, we attended a meeting of the Cleveland American Middle East Organization (aka C.A.M.E.O.) that took place at Al Pita Mediterranean, a restaurant in Beachcliff Market Square on Detroit Road in Rocky River that offers excellent Middle Eastern cuisine. While we were there, we met its owner, Mr. Noor Alq who immigrated to the United States eight years ago from Jordan. We were greatly impressed that he

Read More »

Dr. Sanchez-Moore of Spain

In the latter part of 2016, the city of Mentor hired Dr. Mercedes Sanchez-Moore, PhD, MBA,  to be its new international trade manager. The aim was to fulfill the city’s International Trade Initiative mission of assisting “Mentor-based companies who seek to expand or develop new export markets as well as foster trade relationships with international partners.” Dr. Sanchez-Moore holds a BSBA in International Business and a PhD in workforce development

Read More »
Scroll to Top