Edward Friedman is among 30 recipients nationwide (including 3 CUNY students) of the highly competitive 2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. The prestigious fellowship offers support to immigrants and children of immigrants who are pursuing full-time graduate degrees.
“We are so proud of these exceptionally talented students for receiving this honor, for their earlier academic achievements and for what we know they will accomplish in the future,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “They join CUNY’s many thousands of other immigrants and children of immigrants, including previous recipients of this award, as builders of the fine fabric of CUNY, of New York City, and of our very nation itself.”
Edward graduated from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College in 2018 as a valedictorian where he received a B.A. in political science, certificates in public policy and human rights from Hunter’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute and minors in legal studies and international relations. He now attends Yale Law School.
“I am the literal and figurative son of CUNY. My parents leveraged their humble immigrant beginnings and Brooklyn College accounting degrees into successful finance careers. Through their example, I saw the impact of a stellar CUNY public education firsthand.”
He is the New York City-born, Brooklyn-raised son of Jewish refugees who immigrated as teenagers with their families from Moscow and Kyiv, then part of the Soviet Union, in 1989. His parents met in Brooklyn and subsequently both graduated from CUNY’s Brooklyn College.
Edward describes himself as a “passionate disability advocate.” He hopes to use his Yale law degree to “ensure disability representation among legal decision-makers and advance accessibility for all.” He was born with cerebral palsy and is a power (motorized) wheelchair user.
Prior to entering law school, he was the policy and intergovernmental affairs coordinator at the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. In that role, Edward was the main contact for stakeholders, including high-level New York City and State partners, on policy and legislative matters related to people with disabilities. This summer he will be working on related issues as a summer associate at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP.
Two other CUNY students were also named Soros Fellows: Audrey Chen, a cellist who is now pursuing a doctorate in musical arts at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaching at Hunter College, and Tao Hong, a 2016 graduate of Queensborough Community College who is now a doctoral student in interdisciplinary material science at Vanderbilt University.
The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans is a $90,000 merit-based fellowship. The program draws more than 1,800 applications annually. Paul and Daisy Soros, Hungarian immigrants and American philanthropists, established this fellowship in 1997 as a way to give back to the country that had afforded their family such great opportunities. The goal of the program is to assist young New Americans at critical points in their education — which the Soroses viewed as an unmet need. At CUNY, the Soroses received an honorary degree from Macaulay Honors College. Mr. Soros passed away in 2013.