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About The International Institute

Our Mission

The Institute makes Western New York a better place for, and because of, immigrants and refugees. We welcome, connect and empower foreign-born people and encourage our region’s support for diverse cultures.

Fostering the Future of WNY

Since 1918, the International Institute of Buffalo has served as the “Ellis Island of Western New York.” For generations it has been the entry point and the social and cultural crossroads for foreign born individuals. Today, thanks to an annual operating budget of nearly $8 million, we work with thousands of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers annually and have over 70 employees.

We provide:

  • Refugee resettlement and job training programs
  • Services to foreign-born survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking
  • Interpreting and translation services
  • Global education programs for students, adults and businesses
  • Training and other educational opportunities for international visitors

Welcoming New American Neighbors

Buffalo is a city built by immigrants with a long history of helping foreign-born people. Their hope, expectation and anticipation for a better life, away from fear and isolation, led them here.

These feelings persist for new arrivals today. We strive to live up to Buffalo’s legacy as the “City of Good Neighbors.” We extend that sentiment to all newcomers who are on their way to making WNY even better. Every day, we do all we can to welcome our new neighbors and help make Western New York the place they can achieve their American dream.

Our newest neighbors are from:
  • Afghanistan
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Bhutan
  • Bosnia
  • Congo
  • Colombia
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Kosovo
  • Liberia
  • Rwanda
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Vietnam
  • Venezuela
Strategic Plan

Everything we do is to help improve the future of Western New York for immigrants and refugees. We are continuously working to improve our plans to achieve this goal.

DEI Statement

We believe in welcoming, connecting and empowering foreign-born individuals. We value and employ that same approach when it comes to members of our workforce.


Diverse people shaped Buffalo over the last three centuries. See how our work helped them achieve their American dream.


Get to know the individuals behind the International Institute of Buffalo, why they decided to join our organization and the differences they’ve made for our clients.