The International Institute facilitates services and programs for immigrants, refugees, and the community to assist with cooperation and integration into society. The Institute’s goal is to help individuals and families obtain self-sufficiency and promote multi-cultural understanding throughout the community. From Immigration and Social Services to Refugee Resettlement, the International Institute provides educational and social opportunities for new Americans.
- Refugee Resettlement
- Immigration and Citizenship
- International Visitor Leadership Program
- IIW Educational Programs
- Interpretation and Translation Services
- Volunteer Application
According to the UNHCR, a refugee is defined as someone who has fled his or her home due to a "well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion." Currently, 10.5 million people are considered to be refugees by current standards, and less than ½ of 1% of refugees in the world are resettled in a third country, with the United States resettling the largest number of refugees of any country.
Currently, our resettlement efforts are focused on two groups of refugees. The first group is comprised of individuals coming to Wisconsin from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) who are escaping over 50 years of conflict between ethnic groups and a repressive military regime. Iraqi refugees make up the second population IIW currently resettles. This group of Iraqi refugees has been seeking sanctuary from religious or political persecution since 2003.
The range of resettlement services IIW provides to refugees include providing safe and secure living arrangements, basic necessities, links to resources to address their physical, medical, economic and social needs, cultural orientation, case management and adjustment of legal status. Integration into society is the overall goal of our resettlement program, and IIW works diligently to help all of our clients achieve this goal.
Want to get involved? There are many opportunities to help with IIW welcome our new neighbors. IIW provides safe and secure housing for arriving refugees, and we welcome assistance in providing home goods and other furnishings for their new homes. If you would like to make an in-kind or monetary donation to help with the resettlement process, please call 414-225-6220 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in giving of your time, the IIW has a variety of volunteer opportunities to participate in. Please contact our volunteer coordinator at email@example.com for more information on how you can make a difference in a refugee's life.
Since 1936 the International Institute has been providing services to immigrants in the U.S. on their path to permanent residency and citizenship. Our experienced and multi-lingual staff assists individuals and families by providing a variety of low-cost legal immigration and citizenship services, such as adjustment of status for refugees and non-refugees, travel documents, petitions for family members and naturalization.
Services are by appointment, with walk-in hours on Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
In addition, IIW's immigration and citizenship has the honor of hosting annual visits from the Russian Consulate to Milwaukee to provide services to Wisconsin's Russian community.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 414-225-6220.
The IIW is currently the only organization in Wisconsin to host the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), an affiliate of the U.S. State Department's National Council for International Visitors (NCIV), based out of Washington, D.C. The IIW is currently one of 93 different sites throughout the U.S. to host groups of emerging international leaders from a variety of professional fields. Visitors are selected by embassies overseas to participate in the IVLP.
The IVLP's overall mission is to promote citizen diplomacy, the concept that the individual has the right, even the responsibility, to help shape U.S. foreign relations, "one handshake at a time." This is accomplished through IIW's coordination and facilitation of professional, cultural and interpersonal exchanges between the visitors and their counterparts and experts in their fields throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Visitors begin their program in Washington, D.C., and over the course of approximately three weeks visit three to four different host sites in the U.S. to gain a better understanding of the U.S. and their professional field in this country. As a host site, the IIW schedules meetings and tours with different experts and organizations in various fields throughout Wisconsin. Examples of program topics that Wisconsin has participated in include state government, agriculture, water resources and biotechnology.
An equally important component of this program is local cultural events, including home hospitality visits, which gives both visitors and local citizens the chance to gain mutual understanding and appreciation. IIW works with local volunteers and organizations to help the visitors experience another side of Wisconsin.
For more information, or to learn how you can be involved in this program as a professional contact, host for home hospitality or volunteer in another capacity, please e-mail email@example.com or call 414-225-6220.
The IIW is home to a variety of educational programming that focuses on promoting cultural, ethnic and international exchange and understanding, including:
Japan America Society (JAS)
The mission of the National Association of Japan-America Societies is to strengthen cooperation and understanding between the peoples of Japan and the United States by providing programs, services, and information to and facilitating cooperation among its member societies throughout North America.
Viltis, a Lithuanian word meaning "hope", is a magazine of folklore and folk dance, founded in 1942 by Vytautas Beliajus, a Lithuanian immigrant with a love for performing and teaching folk arts. The magazine celebrates the world's rich diversity through articles on dance, art, music and costumes by a variety of experts in the field. IIW took over publication of Viltis after Beliajus' death in 1994, and is exploring new venues to continue to preserve this significant and beloved magazine.
The IIW provides information and coordinates activities for Sister Cities International, a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network dedicated to creating and strengthening connections, exchanges and partnerships between U.S. and international cities. Milwaukee has several Sister Cities, including Galway, Ireland, Carora, Venezuela, and Buffalo City, South Africa.
The IIW helps to enhance Wisconsin's strengths as a globally-engaged state and raise awareness of the international opportunities available by helping organize and coordinate the Consular Corps of Wisconsin. Activities include World Trade Day in Milwaukee, which gives consulate representatives the opportunity to explore international partnerships in Wisconsin and participate in dialogue with local and state legislators.
Zeidler Lecture Series
IIW is a proud committee member of the Frank P. Zeidler Memorial Lecture series, which was founded to celebrate the life and ideals of Frank P. Zeidler (1912-2006), who served as mayor of Milwaukee from 1948-1960. This lecture series seeks to honor Frank Zeidler's commitment to educating the general public about the great challenges facing humanity and the ability to meet those challenges through open discussion, the building of consensus, planning and democratic government.
Additionally, the IIW is home to an extensive collection of archives and information on international, cultural, ethnic, protocol, folkloric, and immigrant and refugee social service issues. This information is an invaluable tool for the community at large and for businesses that operate in the global market.
Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI)
JOI is a program designed to promote understanding and appreciation between Japanese and American cultures. Through JOI, Japanese individuals are sent to U.S. sites for up to two years to coordinate educational programs that cultivate interest and facilitate an exchange of cultures on a grassroots level. Programs can involve outreach and presentations to groups of all ages, in locations such as elementary, middle or high schools, colleges, universities, local businesses, libraries, senior living centers, or professional groups. The IIW serves as a host organization for JOI, providing office space, supervision and support for the Japanese coordinator during their service.
Since 1936 the International Institute of Wisconsin has been providing reliable interpretation and translation services to the Greater Milwaukee Area. Currently, we regularly offer services in over 50 languages for a variety of sectors, including courts, healthcare, and community and business organizations.
The IIW contracts with a number of qualified translators to provide quality services to individuals and organizations. To receive our services, simply provide the IIW with an original document during our regular office hours. In approximately 10 working days (unless otherwise specified), a notarized and translated document will be returned to you.
The IIW provides spoken language interpretation for a growing variety of nonprofit, for-profit and government organizations in and around the Greater Milwaukee Area. To arrange for a qualified interpreter, call us and let us know of your requirements.
In partnership with experienced trainers throughout the region, the IIW offers an intensive ten-hour Interpreter Training Seminar that provides the interpreter with an overview of the fundamentals of interpretation the background to continue working and improving as a professional. The courses are non-language-specific, so all spoken-language interpreters are welcome to attend.
For more information about our interpretation and translation services and trainings, please call 414-225-6220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IIW is a proud member of the American Translator's Association. www.atanet.org