On April 1, 1951, the cornerstone was laid for the new International Institute at Kirby Avenue and John R. The International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit (IIMD) was founded in Detroit in 1919 by a group of YWCA volunteers, who sought to help legal immigrants learn English, appreciate freedom and democracy, become U.S. citizens, be assimilated into their new communities, and learn to understand each other’s cultures. The International Institute is today a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, located in Detroit’s vibrant University-Cultural Center/Midtown District, that offers a variety of legal and educational services and programs to assist immigrants become productive U.S. citizens, while preserving the language, culture, food, music, dance, costumes, and heritage of their native countries from around the world. Our building houses the award-winning “International Cafe” restaurant; display cases housing the Ethel Averbach International Doll Collection, the world’s largest collection of dolls (over 2,500) dressed in international native costumes; the Wilkinson Immigrant Model Ship Collection; the “Hall of Nations” auditorium with flags from around the world; as well as classrooms and offices to carry out our many programs. The International Institute has been accredited by the U.S. Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals, since 1958. It has also been accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children, Inc., since 1990.
Source : Detroit Historical Society Facebook page