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International Institute of Wisconsin to Host Annual World Citizen Celebration Dinner

Dave Amoroso • Ron Sonntag Public Relations, Inc.
414-354-0200, ext. 108 •

MILWAUKEE, WIS. —The International Institute of Wisconsin (IIW), an organization dedicated to the promotion of international cooperation, understanding, and a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural perspective for more than 85 years, will host its annual World Citizen Celebration dinner on Sat., Oct. 8. The event will be held at the Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, 813 E. Kilbourn Ave. in Milwaukee, with a reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m., and awards presentation at 7:30 p.m.

The celebration will also serve as a kickoff to the IIW produced Holiday Folk Fair International, with the 2022 event to be held Fri., Nov. 18 – Sun., Nov. 20 at the State Fair Park Exposition Center. Tradizione Vivente – The Italian Dance Group of Milwaukee – will perform at the event and all attendees will receive a pair of Folk Fair tickets.

The 2022 event will salute those that have played a leadership role in shaping the IIW and its commitment to the local and global communities. The following people will be recognized:

  • Peter F. Kranstover – Dorothy von Briesen World Citizen Award
  • Amir Tahir – Victor Ven-Kai Chou World Citizen Award
  • Gina Jorgensen and Vic Thomas – Expressive Cultural Heritage Award
  • Johnny Wong – Alfred L. Schlecht Volunteer Award
  • Eckhart Grohman – Corporate Citizen Award

A development economist with 30 years of broad international experience in the areas of development finance and implementing economic assistance strategies abroad. Kranstover brings in-depth, on the ground expertise in design and implementation of assistance activities with a focus on rural development, refugees and displaced persons, primary health care, environment and natural resources, democracy strengthening, and conflict analysis. After almost 18 years abroad in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, and over a decade in Washington D.C., Kranstover brings an excellent combination of policy knowledge and implementation practicality to international affairs and the foreign assistance field.

Tahir is the Chief Executive Officer and Experienced Director of Operations of the Muslim Community Health Center, a federally qualified healthcare center. He has a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and health care industry, in such roles as the Clinic Supervisor and Coordinator of Columbia St. Mary’s Family Practice and Express Care. Skilled in clinical research, pediatrics, physician relations, working with physicians, and patient safety, Tahir is a strong operations professional with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.) focused on Medicine from Sindh Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan.

An educator with Milwaukee Public Schools, Jorgensen is both a visual art teacher and leader. She holds degrees from Alverno College in Art Education & Therapy and a master’s degree in Visual Studies from Cardinal Stritch University. As an active member of the Italian Community Center and its Cultural Committee, she has offered many creative ideas to its events. Her activity at the Holiday Folk Fair as a former Chair and as a member of the Tradizione Vivente – The Italian Dance Group, she has produced many activities for students to participate in during the annual Education Day.

As the Associate Entertainment Director, Thomas is involved in all phases of the entertainment at Summerfest. He is responsible for contract and negotiations with artist staff and management, booking of acts, and plans, procedures, and coordination of entertainment staff. In addition, Thomas also serves as the ethnic festival liaison, which means he works with all the ethic festivals, like Milwaukee Irish Fest, German Fest, Festa Italiana, Polish Fest, and Mexican Fiesta. He holds a degree from in Communications, Music, and Theater from Oberlin College.

Restaurateur of the former China Palace, Wong brings his expertise to the Holiday Folk Fair as coordinator of the World Café.  He not only oversees the logistical setup of the event with its numerous aspects but also offers advice from his many years as a chef and owner. Although retired, he finds time to offer his services to assist the IIW in its refugee resettlement efforts as well as working within the Chinese community to promote its activities and culture.

Grohmann is a Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) Regent, Milwaukee businessman, and avid art collector, who donated his collection to MSOE in 2001 and subsequently the funds to purchase, renovate, and operate the museum that bears his name. The Grohmann Museum is home to the world’s most comprehensive art collection dedicated to the evolution of human work, from farming and mining to the trades, such as glassblowing and seaweed gathering. The collection identifies the similarity between the evolution of work and the pragmatic educational approach of the university. A university setting provides students, staff, and visitors with a historical context for their own activities as they relate to engineering and business.

Jacquelyn Gates Shipe, the Chief Executive Officer of Global Ties Alabama, a nonprofit organization that promotes global peace and understanding through citizen diplomacy, will make the event’s keynote address. Shipe is also the President and CEO of SOARing, LLC, which delivers global leadership development consulting services specializing in ethics and compliance, diversity, and organizational culture shaping. Her clients include the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank Group, Jacobs ESTS, ERC, Kaizer Permanente, Nationwide, Oakwood University, and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

From 2008 to 2010, she served as the Associate Vice President of Development at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and from 2004-2006, she served as the Vice President for Advancement and Development at Oakwood University. Shipe is the former Ethics Officer for the World Bank Group where she reported to the Office of the President and was a corporate officer for Duke Energy and Bell Atlantic/Verizon having served as the Vice President of Diversity, Ethics and Compliance. Shipe also held strategic management positions at the Senn Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, Time Warner, PepsiCo, Revlon, and JCPenney.

Shipe is the former Chair of the Board of Directors of Global Ties U.S. She is an emeritus board member of the Ethics Officer Association and Operation ReachBack Inc. She is on the Advisory Board of the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley College, the Advisory Committee of Oakwood University’s New Beginnings Single Parent Resource Center, and is the Planned Giving Director of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs Inc – of which she is one of its former national presidents. Shipe is an alumnus of the FBI Citizens Academy – Class of 2011 and Leadership Huntsville’s Class 29 and FOCUS Class 2004. She is the Women’s Ministries Leader of the Abundant Life Ministries in New Market, AL.

She has been cited by Ebony Magazine as one of America’s 100 Most Influential Blacks and by Good Housekeeping Magazine as one of 100 Young Women of Promise. Shipe was inducted into the 2004 Women’s Hall of Fame at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, North Carolina and is a 2021 Global Ties Network Decade of Impact Leadership Award Winner. She is a well-known speaker on ethics and values leadership, global diversity, women, education, and youth issues.

The cost of the World Citizen Celebration dinner is $125 per person, or $1,200 for a table of eight. Proceeds from the event are used to support the IIW’s Education Day Cultural Program that is held at the annual Holiday Folk Fair International.  For more information and/or to make a reservation, call 414-225-6220, ext. 103.

The IIW initiates, coordinates, and sponsors a variety of activities and programs appropriate to the fulfillment of its purpose, including immigration and social services, refugee resettlement, citizen diplomacy, and interpretation and translation.