2021 Jewish Detroit Expat reception honors Dr. Larry Brilliant and White House Adviser Gene Sperling.
Continuing an annual tradition each fall to recognize “Detroit Expats” that have roots in Jewish Detroit, the Jewish Expat Reception was held Sept. 24 to honor the legacy of Dr. Larry Brilliant and Gene Sperling.
Gene Sperling, who grew up in Ann Arbor, is a senior aide to President Joe Biden and, on behalf of the president, leads the COVID Rescue Plan for the country. He was National Economic Council director and national economic adviser to Presidents Obama and Clinton, the only person to have served two presidents in that role.
Dr. Larry Brilliant, who spoke over Zoom, is a pioneering physician and epidemiologist who used his educational experience at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University to go on and lead the UN campaign to eradicate smallpox in India. He served as the first executive director of Google.org and as the chair of the Skoll Global Threats Fund. He founded the Seva Foundation, which has restored sight to more than 4 million blind people in dozens of countries.
Dr. Brilliant’s roots run deep in this city, from his father’s Brilliant Music’s location to his motorcycle rides Downtown to get his wisdom teeth filled to his experience at BBYO/AZA where he met his wife.
As a Mumford High School graduate of 1961, his contributions to our world are global but his life’s roots are within this city. In his autobiography, he talks about his identity as a Jewish Detroter, and how the issues he saw early on helped guide the remarkable leader he’d become.