Ming Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Founding president, Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce (www.tccc.us)

International president, Shanghai Aier Eye Hospital (www.aier021.com)

Director, Wang Vision Cataract and LASIK Center

Clinical associate professor of ophthalmology, University of Tennessee

Immigration has continuously had a positive impact on our country, and has been vital to our economic growth. In fact, the United States of America has always been an immigrant country, from our founding fathers that came to this country on the Mayflower to European immigrants who came through Ellis Island to the more recent immigrants from Far East countries, South America and other continents.

America is a great country and is blessed to have a society known to the rest of the world for its openness, fairness, freedom and choice. When I arrived in this country in 1982 as a foreign student who knew no one, and had only $50 in my pocket but a big American dream in my heart, one of the things that impressed me the most was the saying: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it”. America is a great country, a magnet for immigrants from all over the world, because it has a system that is fair to everyone, and gives everyone an opportunity as long as you work hard, pull your own weight, and contribute to society. I grew up in Communist China in the 1960s-70s, during the terrible “Cultural Revolution” where millions of youth were forcefully deported to the most remote parts of the country, condemned to a life of hard labor and poverty (typically earning less than $1 a month). I was not allowed to go to college, despite the fact that I was a straight-A student. After a chance meeting with a visiting American professor, the opportunity arose for me to travel to America. I now lecture regularly to students where I relate to them my experience of being deprived of all opportunities to study during the Cultural Revolution in China, and urge them to study and study hard. In this great country, all a student needs to do is his/her homework and study diligently, and opportunities will open up for them!

As an immigrant, I feel that I have been blessed with the opportunity to move to this country and to study at some of the greatest schools here, such as Harvard and MIT. I know America has given me that freedom and opportunity, and hence, I have an obligation to pay back, to contribute to our community, and to help my adopted country—America--become stronger and better. I have worked tirelessly for the last 30 years, and have made worthwhile contributions to the field of laser physics, cataract surgery and LASIK surgery. I give all the credit for my work and inventions to America. Throughout my career, I have published all of my scientific papers and books, and have given presentations at international meetings as an American scientist and researcher, because I want to thank America for giving me the precious opportunity to learn and excel.

I feel that as an immigrant, no matter what country one has come from, or what cultural group one belongs to, it is vitally important to contribute to the greater mainstream American society, and not only help inside but most importantly outside the confines of one’s own culture and ethnicity. America has provided a peaceful and fair society for us and our families as immigrants, so it is our obligation to be an integral part of the American society, and help to make America better and stronger. Along those lines, I have established three 501c(3) non-profit foundations, the Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration (WFSR), the Wang Foundation for Student Sight Scholarship, and the Wang Foundation for Christian Outreach to China (www.wangfoundation.com). To date, WFSR has helped patients from over 40 states in the U.S. and 55 countries, with all sight restoration surgeries performed free-of-charge.

Most immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs feel the same way as I do. The mission of New Nashville Business Alliance is to help immigrant entrepreneurs to achieve the goals of helping people from different countries, cultures and ethnic backgrounds to work together better, and helping this society to develop more understanding, sensitivity and respect towards different cultures and people. We all have the same goals in life, to help our families, to help ourselves and to help our country, and in this case, our adopted country of America.