The International Institute began as a branch of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) early in the 20th century, with a small staff of three, located in a five-room house near downtown Milwaukee.  Today, the organization employs 11 people who assist newcomers to the country with immigration and social services, refugee resettlement, educational services, and interpretation and translation services.

During the 1920s, the organization expanded as the number of newcomers seeking services increased. Budget cuts and funding concerns led to the International Institute separating from the YWCA in 1936 and becoming incorporated under Wisconsin law as a separate social agency.  The Institute’s purpose was to work with the foreign born in the field of naturalization, immigration, general orientation, and the promotion of better intercultural relations.

In 1943, the Holiday Folk Fair International was held for the first time to celebrate the cultural heritage of the people living in southeastern Wisconsin.  The event traditionally showcases music, food, dance, and art to enhance racial, cultural, and ethnic cooperation.

Today, the International Institute of Wisconsin fulfills its primary purpose with events, such as the Holiday Folk Fair, education, arts, naturalization services, and partnerships with other organizations.


The International Institute of Wisconsin is an organization dedicated to the promotion of international cooperation, understanding, and a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural perspective through education, arts, exchange, communication, social activities, and immigration and naturalization services.  The Institute initiates, coordinates, and sponsors a variety of activities and programs appropriate to the fulfillment of this primary purpose.


International Institute of Wisconsin
1110 North Old Third Street, Suite 420
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203
Phone: 414-225-6220 • Fax: 414-225-6235 • info@iiwisconsin.org

Board of Directors
Azmi Alaeddin, Member
Alaeddin Middle East Cuisine

Austin Baade, Member
Waukesha County Technical College

Dr. Clara Brennan, Member
CEO, International Business and Education Consultants

Kelly Jordan, Chairperson
Bentley World Packaging, Ltd

Pauline Klaffenboeck, Former Chairperson
Retired, BMO Capital Markets

Kurt Kreznar, Treasurer
JP Morgan Chase

Mindy Michalski, Member
Rockwell Automation, Inc.

Terence Miller, Member
Marquette University

Robert Misey, Jr., Member
Reinhart, Boerner, von Deuren

Gerald Mullins, Secretary
Retired, School Administrator

Dr. Barbara Prindiville, Vice Chairman
Retired, President Waukesha County Technical College

Dr. Kalyani Rai, Member
UW Center for Urban Community Development

Donna Roeber, Member
Retired, Registered Nurse

Wolfgang Schmidt, Member
Former Chairperson

Dr. Sebastian Ssempijja, Member
Sebastian Family Psychology

Derek Stackhouse, Member
Fields Volvo Waukesha

Dr. Paul Trebian, Member
Cardinal Stritch University

Friends Board of Directors
David Carter, Treasurer
Alexander P. Durtka, Jr., Executive Vice President
Barry N. James, Chair
Kelly Jordan
Pauline M. Klaffenboeck
Mackie Westbrook, Secretary

Alexander P. Durtka, Jr., President & CEO
Bruce Bartelt
Tatyana Borodin
Annamarie Carlson
Diane Cieslinski
Samuel Dawson
Shadan Fuqe
Klara Gercaliu
William Kearney
Joseph Moero
Cingsuan Neam
Eric Neitzke
Samantha Oliver
Megan Schneck
Amanuel Teklu
Tomi Vandergriff
Chuevang Xiong


  • Council of International Festivals and Traditional Arts - CIOFF®
  • International Festivals and Events Association
  • National Council for International Visitors
  • National Japan America Societies
  • Sister Cities International
  • United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants