The International Institute of Buffalo is a celebration of Buffalo’s growing diversity and ever-changing community demographics. Established in 1918, it was originally created to help exploited immigrants in the US. Its mission today has expanded to aid refugees, as well as immigrants, in becoming self-sufficient members of the Buffalo community through linguistic, cultural, and logistical training. In addition to helping refugees and immigrants, IIB is a manifestation of international connections in Western New York as well as a center for global culture and education for both immigrants and native Western New Yorkers.
An inspiring example of how the IIB is truly an integral part of the Buffalo community is how a friend of mine, a former classmate at my high school, came to America from Jordan (his family originally fled there from Iraq, before “stuff got bad,” as he put it) and was resettled by the International Institute of Buffalo. He came to my high school not knowing ANY English, managed to become fluent and pass the state ESL exam, and is currently attending UB pursuing a double major. What’s even more inspiring is how he now works at the Institute and at a similar place called Journey’s End as an Arabic translator and interpreter. He has managed to come full circle. It is cases like his that are prime examples of the success seen at the IIB.