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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 80 years, will host its annual World Citizen Celebration dinner on Sat., April 28. The event will be held at the Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, 813 E. Kilbourn Ave. in Milwaukee, with a reception and silent auction at 5:00 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m., and awards presentation at 8:00 p.m.

The 2018 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 at the event:

  • World Citizen Award – Native Born: Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy G. Thompson
  • World Citizen Award – Foreign Born: Marina Garza Croft, Dance Academy of Mexico, Director
  • Expressive Cultural Heritage Award: Curt Winterfeldt, Turam Turkish Folk Dance Ensemble, Director
  • Community Volunteer: Norman P. Seeger, Holiday Folk Fair International Consultant, Philanthropist

Corporate Citizen Award: Colectivo Coffee

Thompson is the longest serving governor in the state’s history, holding the position from 1987 to 2001. He earned his bachelor and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1963 and 1966, respectively. Immediately after completing law school in 1966, he ran for and won a seat in the Wisconsin State Assembly. In 1973, Thompson became the Assembly’s assistant minority leader and, in 1981, its minority leader.

During his tenure as governor, Thompson was appointed to the Amtrak Board of Directors by President Bill Clinton, serving as chairman.

He served as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001–05, appointed by President George W. Bush. After his time in the Bush Administration, Thompson was a partner with the law-firm Akin Gump and Chairman of Deloitte’s global healthcare practice. He has also served on the board of many organizations, most of which focused on healthcare.

Croft, who was born and raised in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas, Mexico, attended law school at the Institute of Technology and Higher Studies of Monterrey where she met her husband. Upon graduating from law school, she moved to Whitewater, Wis. where her husband finished his studies.

After working in Madison as a legal secretary for a law firm, she enrolled at Marquette University Law School, earning her United States law degree in May 2004. She then worked as a litigation attorney, serving as an Administrative Law Judge for the Wisconsin Division of Hearings and Appeals in March, 2006. Croft worked in this position for 11 years.

In September 2010, she established the Dance Academy of Mexico, which is dedicated to preserving Mexican traditions in the United States. The academy, which promotes culture and diversity through the arts, has 118 students ages 6-45. The group, a member of the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts (CIOFF), participates in many festivals in the Milwaukee area and has a goal of traveling the world showcasing Mexican culture.

Although his culture is German and Russian, Winterfeldt adopted the Turkish Culture. He has been involved with the Holiday Folk Fair International for the past 40 years as the chairman for the Turkish International Market Place, a dancer and director with the Turam Turkish Folk Dance Ensemble, and President of the Turkish American Association of Milwaukee.

As a member of the Turam Turkish Folk Dance Ensemble, he helped introduced dance and culture to many different communities, as the group has performed in New York City, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. In addition, Winterfeldt has given workshops on Turkish Culture and Dance in throughout the Midwest.

A school teacher in the Milwaukee area for 58 years, Winterfeldt not only taught English, but gave many students the opportunity and experience of Turkish culture and dance. As an instructor of Turkish dance, he oversaw a 100-member dance group at Samuel Morse Middle School and a 24-member group at Alexander Hamilton High School, both in Milwaukee, and he taught Turkish dance at two different high schools in Chicago and the Turkish graduate students at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The middle school and two high school groups have performed at the Holiday Folk Fair.

Seeger is a dedicated family man with a strong faith, a passion for volunteering to help individuals and various causes, a philanthropist, making countless contributions of his time, talents and treasures to benefit others personally, as well as volunteering for several churches, schools, and charitable organizations.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee majoring in Economics, Finance, and Real Estate, he served six years in the United States Army. He owned and was the Chief Executive Office and President of Badger Exposition Services, Inc., a national convention, trade show, and special event contractor. Seeger served on the Executive Board, including as President, of both the Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau (10 years) and the Exhibition Services and Contractors Association (six years), and the Experiential Designers and Producers Association (four years).

Even though he has been “semi-retired” for two decades, Seeger continues to serve selected associates and conferences as a consultant, negotiator, and mentor, including the International Institute of Wisconsin/Holiday Folk Fair. Always eager to assist with building business relationship and networking with others, his business acumen has made Seeger a valued source of information concerning organizational duties, time management, attention to details, and a keen perception to avoid potential over-sights.

Founded by Ward & Lincoln Fowler and Paul Miller in 1993, Colectivo sources specialty-grade coffees from Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, roasting them by hand at the company’s headquarters in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood. For over 20 years, Colectivo has developed and maintained long-term relationships with coffee producers and exporters in more than a dozen countries, from Mexico and Colombia to Rwanda and Indonesia.

Colectivo operates 13 cafes in metro Milwaukee, three in Madison, and two in Chicago with three more planned for the next year. The company also operates an extensive wholesale business and Troubadour Baking Co., a full-service scratch bakery & commissary adjacent to the Bay View cafe.

Representatives from Colectivo regularly travel to meet with these partners, inspect growing and harvesting conditions, reinforce quality standards, and exchange ideas and experiences. The company also hosts events in Milwaukee for visiting producers that incorporate food and often music from those respective origins. Colectivo’s core business of roasting and brewing great-tasting coffee simply would not exist without the many growers who keep the company well-supplied, and as such showcasing their efforts and telling their stories have always been and will continue to be a focus.

Raveen Arora, an author, international management consultant, humanitarian, social entrepreneur, and philanthropist, will make the event’s keynote address. He is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of the Think Human-Global Initiative in Tempe, AZ, an international grass roots movement to create awareness and practice empathy, inclusion, diversity, and humane thinking through media, seminars, workshops, and presentations.

A native India and a refugee child who made education his priority, Arora worked as a young man with Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta where her example of service to the “poorest of the poor” profoundly shaped his character of caring for all. He provided help to Tibetan refugees and widespread assistance in refugee camps and mobile clinics during turmoil between Indian and Pakistan in 1971 that resulted in the birth of Bangladesh.

With a mission of multi-culturalism, Arora firmly believes and practices humility, empathy, dignity, and respect. “Community involvement is hard wired into my DNA,” he said. “A life of service is my true joy. I wake up hungry and humble each day. I am dispensable but my mission is not. The worst sin is not to hate your neighbors, but to be indifferent to their needs.”

Recipient of the 2018 Mother Teresa International service award and a 2017 Face of Diversity award winner, Arora is the President and Extension Chairman – North America for the Alliance Clubs International, an international service organization with about 1,400 clubs in 20 countries. He is an Executive Committee Member for Sister Cities International and an Ambassador with Project C.U.R.E., an organization that identifies, solicits, collects, sorts and distributes medical supplies and services according to the imperative needs of the world.

He obtained a professional degree as a Chartered Accountant at The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in 1971, while earning a Commerce (Honors) degree with emphasis on Accounting and Taxation from St. Xavier’s College in India.

The cost of the World Citizen Celebration dinner is $95 per person, or $800 for a table of eight, with $45 of the amount tax deductible per person. Proceeds from the event are used to support IIW children’s workshops and the 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. In addition, the IIW produces the annual Holiday Folk Fair International, with the 2018 event to be held Fri., Nov. 16 – Sun., Nov. 18 at the State Fair Park Exposition Center.