February 1, 2024 marks 100 years since the International Institute of Boston first opened its doors with a simple but radical idea: to welcome and support people from all around the world and to celebrate the diverse heritages they bring with them.
From the start, the mission of the International Institutes was to uphold the value of a pluralistic culture based on immigrant integration—the belief that the unique cultures and customs of new community members should be preserved—rather than assimilation or “Americanization”—the belief that new community members should conform to the majority culture. That belief continues to guide our work today.
Over the past 100 years, our Boston office has expanded to support more than 5,000 refugees and immigrants each year, and our programs have strengthened—from resettlement to adult education, employment support to pathways to citizenship, and much more—to help thousands of individuals find safety and a fresh start in our Greater Boston communities.
Our Boston office has played a critical role in building Boston into the welcoming, diverse city it is today, where 28% of the city’s residents are immigrants, and many more are children of immigrants. For the thousands of individuals who come here each year—having fled persecution, war, famine, and climate disasters, and often arriving with little more than the clothes on their backs—Boston is a popular destination because of the family and friends that have already put down roots in Boston and call the city home.
During our centennial year, we celebrate 100 years of life-changing support to refugees and immigrants in Greater Boston and prepare for our second century of service. We invite you to join us in commemorating this milestone and in affirming our city’s shared commitment to welcoming newcomers from around the world.