Contact

mellerma@brandeis.edu

Research Areas

Memoir; Modern Day Slavery; Adoption Issues; Gender and International Development; Chinese History

Education

Ph.D., Harvard University

M.A., Boston University

B.A. equivalent, University of Geneva

Links

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Polaris Project

One World: Chinese Adoptee Blog

A.G. Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

An-Ya Project

Mei Mei Akwai Ellerman

Mei Mei Akwai Ellerman

Mei Mei Akwai Ellerman

Born and adopted in the United States, Dr. Ellerman received her doctorate in Romance Lang. and Lit. at Harvard. She previously studied at Boston University, the University of Geneva, and the Liceo Classico Michelangiolo in Florence. After a career of teaching Italian literature and cinema at Boston area institutions, Mei-Mei now focuses on research, writing, social activism, nature photography and reiki practice. At the WSRC  she has the luxury of pursuing all her combined interests. A founding board director of the Polaris Project [leading anti-human trafficking NGO in the US, and operator of the National Human Trafficking Hotline], as emerita, Mei-Mei remains committed to raising awareness of modern-day slavery and fundraising for Polaris. Intense involvement in adoption issues include the fight for universal access to adoptees' original birth certificates, and against fraudulent adoption practices.  Co-Founder with Diane René Christian of the An-Ya Project, The Literary Lifting of Adoptee Voices, Mei-Mei has contributed to three publications, Adult Anthology: Perpetual Child, Dismantling the Stereotype [2013]; Dear Wonderful You: Letters to Adopted and Fostered Youth [2014] which she also co-edited; and An-Ya Project: #Flip the Script: Adult Adoptee Anthology, collective adoptee journeys through literature and art [Oct. 2015].

Current Projects

Two memoirs in progress, both of which involved worldwide research/travel: Circles of Love, the 27-year-long search for author’s Chinese origins, and a cultural biography covering 160 years of her bi-racial adoptive family, In Pursuit of Images and Shadows: A Chinese Daughter Journeys into her Mother’s Past. Also co-founder/co-editor of and contributor to the An-ya Project, “A Literary Lifting of Adoptee Voices.” 

Representative Publications

Co-Founder with Diane René Christian of the An-Ya Project, The Literary Lifting of Adoptee Voices, Mei- Mei has contributed to several publications including Dear Wonderful You: Letters to Adopted and Fostered Youth [2014] which she also co-edited; and An-Ya Project: #Flip the Script: Adult Adoptee Anthology, collective adoptee journeys through literature and art [Oct. 2015]. 

“Voices from the Frontline, Addressing Forced Marriage Within the United States,” excerpts from my interview with Vidya Sri, founder and director of Gangashakti. 2013.