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International Institute of Rhode Island

Since 1922, the International Institute of Rhode Island has helped immigrants coming to Rhode Island. Equally important, the Institute helped them find ways to preserve their culture while adapting to American life. Recently merged with Dorcas Place, which concentrates on ESL and Adult Education classes, the International Institute originally focused on immigrant women and girls. At a time when some social workers were criticizing Italian families for still eating spaghetti, the International Institute was strongly in favor of immigrants keeping their ethnic roots.

In 1967, the Institute housed the Cuban Club, founded by Dr. Eduardo Salabert and his wife Virginia, Cuban immigrants whose children were brought to the United States during Operation Peter Pan. El Club Cubano created a revolving fund to help new arrivals start afresh.


Meeting at the International Institute Groups like Proyecto Esperanza and the Hispanic Social Services Committee held weekly meetings at the International Institute of Rhode Island to discuss issues affecting Latinos in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Source: Marti­nez, Marta V., and Albert T. Klyberg. Latino History in Rhode Island: Nuestras Raí­ces p. 61
The International Institute of Rhode Island c. 1965.


220 Elmwood Ave, Providence, RI 02907


“International Institute of Rhode Island,” Rhode Tour, accessed October 1, 2023,