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Tribute To Bill Shuey

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

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Mr. President, today I wish to recognize Bill Shuey, Director of the International Institute of Rhode Island. Bill is retiring after nearly three decades of service to the Rhode Island community.

I have witnessed Bill Shuey's effective and innovative leadership since my days as a member of the International Institute's Board of Directors in the 1980s. The Institute's mission is to provide the educational, legal, and social tools immigrants and refugees need to gain self-sufficiency and contribute to their communities--the very building blocks of the American dream. Since taking the helm of the Institute in 1984, Bill has overseen the growth of the Institute's budget and highly skilled staff, as well as its relocation to a new home on Elmwood Avenue in Providence. Bill and his staff have served immigrants and refugees who have come to Rhode Island and southeastern New England from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Guatemala, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Cambodia, Burma, Laos, Bhutan, Iraq, Lebanon, Armenia, and many other countries.

Bill's father was a school principal who started an American school in Addis Ababa in 1966. In 2000, Bill made him proud when the International Institute founded a K-5 multilingual charter school in Pawtucket. About 300 students now attend the school, which immerses students in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.

Thanks to Bill's vision, the International Institute has plans to expand its services further through a merger with Dorcas Place, an adult education organization that focuses on literacy and language skills as well as job training and preparation.

I should mention that Bill's dedication to making a difference in the lives of others carries over into his private life. In addition to being a proud father, step-father, and grandfather, Bill is the foster parent of the son of Cambodian immigrants, who is now a student in law school.

Through building effective partnerships between non-profits, government, and the private sector, Bill has helped knit the fabric of our community in Rhode Island to connect thousands of individuals with the skills they need to become productive members of Rhode Island's workforce and society. Rhode Island has a long tradition of being enriched, culturally and economically, by immigrants who came to our shores with the American dream in their hearts. Bill has helped so many of them get a welcome start. I wish him heartfelt congratulations and gratitude for his years of service to the people of Rhode Island.