Mr Glenn Schaeffer, the founder of the International Institute of Modern Letters, is a US business leader and philanthropist. He has strong affection for New Zealand and a home in Nelson which he visits regularly. He is a lover of books and contemporary writing and has a commitment to supporting writers internationally, as well as to fostering the development of emerging writers. 'The global language of the global village is literature, and no culture of freedom exists without it', he says.
In the 1970s he completed a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction at the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop. Before this, Mr Schaeffer earned a BA summa cum laude and then a Master of Arts in Literature from the University of California (Irvine), where he was elected the university's youngest Phi Beta Kappa Scholar and was named one of Irvine's 'Top 30 Distinguished Graduates'.
Mr Schaeffer went on to follow a highly successful business career. He was President and Chief Financial Officer of the Las Vegas based Mandalay Resort Group, one of America's top leisure and entertainment companies, owning some 27,000 hotel rooms.
In 2000 he established Las Vegas as the first US 'City of Asylum', in association with the International Parliament of Writers. This project involves an annual fellowship for an oppressed writer who has had to flee his or her homeland.
More recently he made a $1,000,000 gift to the Iowa Writers' Workshop as core funding for the Glenn Schaeffer Library, which contains office and classroom space as well as library and archive facilities. He has gifted his own comprehensive collection of Whitman publications and papers to the archive. He has also endowed a US$2,000,000 Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Nevada (Las Vegas), whose first holder is the Nigerian writer and Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka.