[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
Whether our families have lived here for generations or have come to call the city home only recently, it is the rich diversity of our cultures and heritages that make Louisville what it is today. And each new arrival adds to the mix.
Some new and first-generation immigrants and refugees make such significant contributions to their professions and the community that they merit special recognition. To honor them, Jewish Family & Career Services created the MOSAIC (Multicultural Opportunities for Success and Achievement In our Community) Awards.
On April 15, JFCS feted the 2010 MOSAIC award winners, Gabriele Weber Bosley, Kahlid A. Kahloon, Dr. Mirzada Kurbasic, Mark McCallum and Adolfo (Ben) Ruiz III, with a dinner and special program at the Henry Clay that was attended by 300 people.
Past MOSAIC Award winners were also recognized.
In addition, the Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Foundation presents the Jeff and Phyllis Osbourn Scholarship to a promising recent immigrant who is working toward a degree in health care. This year’s winner is Stana Sajic.
In presenting the award, Dr. Gerald Temes, vice president of the foundation, explained that Sajic began studying nursing in Bosnia Herzegovina, but war interrupted her studies. Fleeing the violence, she spent some time in Germany before coming to the United States.
She and her family settled in Louisville, and she decided to go back to school to pick up where she left off. It was not an easy decision as she had to learn English first. Things became even more challenging when she had a second child.
Today, she is a nursing assistant at Frazier Rehab and is working toward her associates degree in nursing at Indiana University Southeast. The scholarship will help cover expenses for her final year.
Ben Ruiz III
Ben Ruiz is a founder and principal partner in Adhawks Advertising Agency. Originally from Mexico, Ruiz is an entrepreneur who serves as a role model and champion for other Hispanic and minority entrepreneurs and business owners. He co-chairs the Hispanic/Latino Coalition and sits on the Boards of the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, the Advertising Federation of Louisville, the University of Louisville Latin American Latino Studies, the Americana Community Center, Wes-ley House and many other local organizations. He played a leadership role in forming the Hispanic Latino Business Council through which he strives to build bridges with other community groups, stressing inclusivity and community service.
Ruiz encouraged those present to join the Brain Injury Alliance’s Brain Walk on May 15 on the Belvedere. Registration starts at 9 a.m., and the event begins at 10.
He also announced that the Hispanic/Latino Coalition has begun a scholarship in conjunction with the University of Louisville for which applicants are not required to supply documentation of their residency status.
Ruiz concluded that he is as proud of his heritage as a Mexican and part Aztec as he is being in the United States and living the American dream.
Gabriele Weber Bosley
An immigrant from Germany, Gabriele Weber Bosley, the director of international programs and a professor of global languages at Bellarmine University was described as a passionate teacher, innovator and active learner who grew the school’s program. She increased the number of languages offered from three to eight and the number of courses from 18 to 82. She developed its baccalaureate degree in foreign languages and international studies and its International Programs Office.
She has found funding for her work and created internships and online classes. Colleagues in a video about her said she is “a creative force and devoted academic … [who] tirelessly works to broaden others’ horizons.
Bosley expressed gratitude for this award, which coincides with the 35th anniversary of her arrival in America. She had married a young man from Louisville and “arrived with two suitcases filled with memories, hopes and dreams.
She spoke of her interest in languages, her studies outside of Germany as a teen and her path to her current career. She was hired by Bellarmine six months after her arrival and immediately “felt at home. It’s been part of me ever since.”
She thanked Louisville for being “so warmly welcoming,” and JFCS for the award.
Mark McCallum came all the way from Australia to join Brown-Forman’s marketing team and is now executive vice president and chief operating officer responsible for the company’s business activities in more than 135 countries. He has played a major role in Brown-Foreman’s initiatives to encourage responsible consumption.
McCallum also serves as president of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Kentuckiana, providing leadership in its marketing and recruitment efforts. In addition, he works closely with his own little brother, A.J.
In 2008, McCallum and his entire family – wife, Diane and three children – became U.S. citizens.
McCallum accepted the award with a “profound feeling of humbleness.” He said he and his family have been embraced by American culture, Brown-Forman and Louisville.
Dr. Mirzada Kurbasic
When her native Bosnia & Herzegovinia was plunged into war, Dr. Mirzada Kurbasic lost her home, family and ability to work as a physician. She fled to Croatia, and eventually was offered a fellowship at the University of Louisville in pediatrics.
When she arrived in Louisville, she started her life over, and within three years earned her certification and was able to begin practicing in Louisville. Today, she is a professor of pediatrics at U of L and a physician at the University Child Health Specialists, and has become an expert in international pediatric care. She is also on the faculty of a university in Bosnia.
She is currently focusing her efforts in Bosnia on recognizing child abuse and in Louisville on discouraging smoking among local international populations through the Tobacco Free Coalition, among other things. She and the Division of General Pediatrics have received the Mayor’s International Award for their efforts to expand health services to immigrant populations.
Kurbasic expressed gratitude to JFCS and to the many people who have helped her, her husband and her son along the way. She especially recognized the U of L Department of Pediatrics, which “created a position for me.”
Khalid A. Kahloon
Khalid A. Kahloon, originally from Pakistan, is an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky who began is law career in the Public Defenders office in Louisville.
A founder of the American Muslim Association of Louisville, he strives to open dialogue about Islam and American Muslims and is a leading expert on anti-terrorism. He is often tapped by law enforcement agencies to teach officers about Islam. In the video, friends described him as a connector who exemplifies the epitome of the American dream.
Kahloon also serves on the Boards of Metro United Way, the Louisville Office of International Affairs, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission and the Metro Parks Foundation.
He described himself as, “a Muslim by birth, an American by choice, and a Louisvillian by marriage” and joked that “if you don’t understand my accent, it’s O.K. I’m from Hikes Point.”
Kahloon called the Jewish community the “model for the immigrant community. … See how many doors they open, not just for themselves, but for others,” he continued, pointing to the MOSAIC Awards as a prime example. The winners of the MOSAIC awards through the years have come from countries around the globe, excel “in every field” and are adherents of many different faiths. Kentucky, he said, “is blessed to have you in the community.”
The 2010 MOSAIC Award
Each year, JFCS commissions an accomplished artist to design and craft the MOSAIC Awards for the winners. This year, each winner received a unique woven piece created by weaver and photographer Dobree Adams, who creates one-of-a-kind pieces from her handspun yarns.
Although each award is unique, they were designed to work together and complement each other. Each is embellished with a beaded signature containing handmade Czechoslovakian window pane glass beads.
The title sponsor of the 2010 Mosaic Awards was Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services and the media sponsor was WLKY32 TV. WLKY’s Rick Van Hoose was the master of ceremonies.
Patron sponsors were Almost Family, Appriss, Brown-Forman, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Northwestern Mutual and Peritus.
Table sponsors were Aegon, Bellarmine University, Bonnie Bizer, Dr. Mark Lynn & Associates PLLC, E.ON U.S., Fifth Third Bank, Humana, IVS LLC, Jefferson Community & Technical College, John-
Kenyon American Eye Institute, Louis T. Roth Family Foundation, LSY Inter-national, Bob and Judy Feundlich Tiell, University of Louisville and the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics.
Salute donors were APTIS, Gabriele Weber Bosley, Business First, Alan and Debbie Friedman, Greater Louisville Inc., David A Jones and Mary Gwen Wheeler, Just Creations, Dr. and Mrs. Raja Kara, Mr. and Mrs. Jay Klempner, Mukaz Socco Ya Wote, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Resnik, Wilson and Muir Bank and Dr. and Mrs. Wei-Bin Zeng.
Tim Mulloy was the MOSAIC Awards honorary chair. Djenita Pasic, a 2008 MOSAIC Award honoree, was the event chair. Committee members were Terri Bass, Mary Cleary, Paulette Dubofsky, Debbie Friedman, Sandi Friedson, Jan Glaubinger, Sharon Goodman, Peace Kara, Jay Klempner, Susan Klempner, Yung Nguyen, Cladia Peralta-Mudd, Millie Ratner, Aurora Scheker, Diane Tobin and Geoff Verderosa. JFCS Development Director Beverly Bromley staffed the event.