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Immigrant And Entrepreneur Frank Islam Encourages 200 New Citizens At JFK Library To Be '21st Century Citizens'

Press Release

At the age of 16, Frank Islam left his family and friends in India with just $35 to pursue his life-long dream of owning a business. He went on to become founder and CEO of a company worth more than $300 million. Today, he addressed 200 newly naturalized citizens at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The Indian immigrant called on the new citizens to be citizens of the 21st century by becoming active in their communities.

“President Kennedy said, ‘In a democracy, every citizen regardless of his interest in politics or holds office, every one of us is in a position of responsibility. The kind of government we get depends on how we fulfill those responsibilities,’” Islam said. “I ask you to fulfill those responsibilities by being a 21st Century Citizen.”

Islam became a citizen in 1980, but he never attended a naturalization ceremony. He said he was proud to renew his oath with the 200 others in Stephen Smith Hall at the JFK Library.

Islam’s story started in India when an American professor from Colorado convinced him to come to America to study mathematics. During his college years, he worked at fast food restaurants in Colorado. He would eventually get into information technology and start his own business, the QSS Group. Over time, he grew the business from a single employee, himself, to more than 3,000 with annual revenues of more than $300 million.

“It is America that provided me with ladders of opportunity to succeed. I am a recipient of America’s kindness and generosity. My story reaffirms the notion that America is a land of opportunity. My story also shows that America is a nation of inclusion, openness, opportunity, democracy, and freedom. All of us can proudly and truly embrace these values and qualities of America.”

After taking the oath, Islam encouraged the 200 in attendance to go out and help make America the nation it can be.

“As immigrants and the future of America, I know that you will make great contributions to ensure that dream is even stronger and better for the citizens of this immigrant nation,” he told the crowd.

What did feel like to give that speech? "I felt really energized seeing the new citizens. I could see myself in them.  Each of them has the potential to do great things," said Islam. 

"President Kennedy is my hero. To be here in this library is very meaningful to me. I think I am the first Asian American to speak at this library at the naturalization event and that means a lot to me," said Islam. 

His speech was inspirational and moving and would surely have lit a spark in the hearts and minds of the new immigrants. 

The Naturalization Oath Ceremony is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In celebration of their new citizenship, the Kennedy Library presented everyone with a commemorative edition of the Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy.

About the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is one of 14 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It is supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.

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