Denver, CO (Staging) | January 27 to February 27
Denver, CO, USA | July 22 to August 22
Colorado, USA | August 22 to August 29
Colorado, USA | August 29 to September 5
Billings, MT | September 5 to September 12
Wyoming, USA | September 12 to September 19
Utah, USA | September 19 to September 26
Sacramento, CA, USA | September 26 to October 3
Mexico | October 3 to October 10
Mexico | October 10 to October 17
Mexico | October 17 to October 24
Eskilstuna, Sweden | October 24 to October 31
Sweden | October 31 to November 7
Kouvola, Finland | November 7 to November 14
Espoo, Finland | November 14 to November 21
Jyväskylä, Finland | November 21 to November 28
Tallinn, Estonia | November 28 to December 5
by Dale Penny ('71A), USA, President and CEO, Up with People
Dear Fellow Alumni,
What a year (okay, 18 months) of celebrations it has been! As we culminate the series of events marking Up with People’s first half century, it is worth highlighting a few of the major events.
“The Journey” - The 50th Anniversary show was launched in January 2015. Written not only to honor the past 50 years but to be relevant to contemporary times, the show has continued to evolve as global events have occurred and has been well received in the U.S., Mexico and throughout Europe.
“90/50” – In March of 2015, UWP luminaries from around the world gathered in Tucson to celebrate Blanton Belk’s 90th birthday and his life’s work, with Betty, of building and sustaining Up with People. What a party it was!
“Celebrate 50” – It is hard to find anyone who attended the great reunion in Orlando last August who wasn’t overwhelmed by the spirit, the pride and the emotion when over 3,000 alumni, family and friends gathered to mark this milestone exactly 50 years to the day of the first public show in 1965.
“Celebrate Mexico 50” – An extraordinary week of programs culminated with over 1,500 attending the Saturday performance featuring an appearance by the Colwell Brothers on stage with Cast A2016. What an emotional moment it was as we reflected on the unique role Steve, Paul and Ralph played in UWP and the hundreds of songs they have written that provided the musical foundation for our experience.
“Celebrate Europe 50” – The final 50th event took place in Brussels, the home of Up with People in Europe. Although events in Paris and Brussels forced the postponement of this event from last November till now, and it sometimes seemed it might never happen, it was appropriate that we culminated our celebrations here. More than a few of the hundreds of alumni who attended remarked how satisfying it felt that we had “pushed on through” to ensure that Up with People could give a message of hope and support to the people of Brussels during such an uncertain time.
What do all of these celebrations mean? First, I think it is critical to remember that Up with People has lasted for more than 50 years. Few nonprofits reach such a milestone, and it doesn’t happen unless the mission is important and the message continually evolves to be relevant to the times.
Second, the 22,000+ alumni who have shared this experience have made a mark on the world. Along with our host families, sponsors and supporters, we have forged a global community of fellow travelers committed to building a more compassionate and trusting world. We can all be proud of our individual and collective contribution.
Finally, our work is not over. The Up with People story is just beginning. The mission is needed more today than at any time in our history. As new generations of young adults join to take our place in future casts, we need to support them just as we were supported during our years. All of us who work with UWP to keep the mission alive today know we stand on your shoulders and we wouldn’t be here without you. Please join with us to ensure that the cast members traveling today will gather in another 50 years to celebrate a century of tearing down walls, building bridges of understanding and forging a more hopeful and peaceful world.
So with gratitude to the UWPIAA leadership and volunteers, the staff and board of Up with People and the many, many alumni who helped in all the planning and managing of the various celebration events, we all say thank you! Here’s to the next 50!
Jerko Bozikovic (‘87A), Belgium, Regional Representative: Europe/Middle East/Africa
We are in exciting times in Europe. On one hand, there are awful things happening on our continent like the Paris and the Brussels attacks, hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing their homelands, hoping to find peace, safety and a new life in our countries. They are not always welcomed with open arms by some people. On the other hand, there is a movement of awareness, wanting to change the old patterns and create a new way of living together. It is in this energy that UWP is blooming in Europe.
The casts have a very high number of European students, the interviews are amongst the highest, too, especially of those who are accepted and then actually end up traveling .
The EAM in Rome was very successful and the Amsterdam team is already organizing the EAMsterdam for April 28-30, 2017. Alumni associations and clubs have never been so vibrant and alive. The Belgians held their first general assembly during the Celebrate 50 in Brussels and communication on the different country Facebook accounts is very lively.
Since it is our aim to connect a maximum of alumni, we started three new FB groups:
France: There are several French alumni, but there are also many non-French alumni living in Paris and other places in France. On Facebook, Up with People alumni France www.facebook.com/groups/1571006589864240/?fref=ts
Ireland: We have several very motivated Irish alumni in Ireland and abroad, so let’s connect them and see if one day we can go back to Ireland to organize an event. On Facebook, Up with People alumni Ireland www.facebook.com/groups/1087810781285443/?fref=ts
United Kingdom: There are not that many alumni from the UK, but there are a lot of non-UK alumni living in London and other cities in the UK. How about connecting all those people, too? On Facebook, Up with People alumni UK www.facebook.com/groups/1814620812091622/?fref=ts
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get all these locals together, but also the ex-pats living in these places? How about all of us traveling and getting together with some locals for a drink? And wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day we can organize an EAM or other reunions in these places, or even help UWP go back?
So if you know alumni from France, Ireland or the UK living there or others living there, get them connected on the FB groups.
Bienvenue and welcome back French, Irish and United Kingdom alumni!
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