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Refugee Resettlement

The International Institute of Wisconsin facilitates services and programs for immigrants, refugees, and the community to assist with cooperation and integration into society. The IIW’s goal is to help individuals and families obtain self-sufficiency and promote multi-cultural understanding throughout the community.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 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 the International Institute of Wisconsin 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 the IIW works diligently to help all of our clients achieve this goal.

Want to get involved? There are many opportunities to help when the International Institute of Wisconsin welcome our new neighbors. The 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

If you are interested in giving of your time, we have a variety of volunteer opportunities in which to participate. Please contact our volunteer coordinator at for more information on how you can make a difference in a refugee’s life.