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 World Third Street, Suite 420
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203
Phone: 414-225-6220 • Fax: 414-225-6235 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Board of Directors
Azmi Alaeddin, Member
Alaeddin Middle East Cuisine
Austin Baade, Member
Florida Atlantic University
Dr. Clara Brennan, Treasurer
CEO, International Business and Education Consultants
Kelly Jordan, Chairperson
M.E. Dey & Company, Inc.
Mindy Michalski, Member
Rockwell Automation, Inc.
Terence Miller, Member
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
Dr. Wolfgang A. Schmidt, Member
Dr. Sebastian Ssempijja, Member
Sebastian Family Psychology
Derek Stackhouse, Member
Fields Volvo Waukesha
Dr. Paul Trebian, Member
College of Menominee Nation
Friends Board of Directors
David Carter, Treasurer
Alexander P. Durtka, Jr., Executive Vice President
Barry N. James, Chair
Pauline M. Klaffenboeck
Mackie Westbrook, Secretary
Alexander P. Durtka, Jr., President & CEO
Seng Lat Aung
- 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