Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans 20 Year Reunion
June 2018. Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor
When the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans decided to bring together their community of scholars for the 20th anniversary, their leadership and Board of Trustees called on Empire to serve as their production partner for this important milestone.
The 20 Year Reunion would host over 500 Fellows, family members and trustees and was strategically designed as a multi-day retreat consisting of social, educational and conversational sessions and activities. Its goals included recognizing and honoring the contributions of immigrants and children of immigrants to the United States, paying tribute to the founders, Paul and Daisy Soros, and fostering the sense of community and direct connections between fellows. Creating this sense of community would be a challenge given the attendees separation by class year, schools attended, geographical residency distribution, national background and areas of professional interest. To accomplish this cohesion, event programming was built around common themes of immigration, leadership, innovation and excellence and targeted to sophisticated guests across multiple cohorts and disciplines within various age ranges and professions.
After an expansive search across the U.S., The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs was chosen as the venue. The Broadmoor provided a central U. S. location that made travel accessible for each guest, a location free of outside distractions and an abundance of facilities to achieve the objectives of the program.
In the middle of Immigrant Heritage Month, the weekend kicked off on Friday with Fellow arrivals and registration, followed by a welcome reception and dinner. The reception took place at Cheyenne Lodge, a remote mountainside location with a warm ambiance and breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and City of Colorado Springs. This quintessential Colorado environment allowed guests to be fully immersed in their surroundings and partake in an interactive dinner experience with intimate “camp fire” conversations on the cozy outdoor patio surrounding fire pits. The setting provided guests the opportunity to truly enjoy a retreat away from their everyday lives and even provided an ideal platform for a drone-shot class photo at sunset.
Saturday began with morning elective activities including yoga, a nature walk, and a guided run through The Broadmoor’s impeccable property. Guests enjoyed breakfast prior to attending the opening keynote session by Viet Thanh Nguyen a Vietnamese-American novelist, followed by a discussion with 2007 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow, Michelle Kuo. The keynote session was followed by a series of programmed breakout sessions led by members of the Fellowship community; topics covered academic, social, scientific, and political topics, and more. In the afternoon, guests enjoyed some free time and took advantage of the reunion’s awe-inspiring location by engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking and excursions to iconic Colorado Springs landmarks.
Saturday evening’s highly-anticipated recognition dinner honored the founders, Paul and Daisy Soros, The Soros Family and celebrated the legacy of the Fellowship community. The cocktail reception was dedicated to the Directors Emeritus of the organization, Warren Ilchman and Stanley Heginbotham, where guests sipped specialty cocktails such as the ‘Stanhattan’ and the ‘Warren Sparkler’. The dinner tribute program was hosted by Alex Iftimie (2009 Fellow) and Dena Simmons (2010 Fellow) and featured a 20th Anniversary Highlight video, musical performances by David Adewumi (2017 Fellow), Paul Kwak (2006 Fellow), and Elizabeth Joy Roe (2005 Fellow). The pinnacle of the evening was the closing remarks given by Mrs. Daisy M. Soros, whose heartfelt remarks created the shared moment for the Fellowship and instilled its legacy in each attendee. The evening closed with an epic dance party with cocktails, a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship photo booth, and live performance by Flare Band.
To complete the weekend, Sunday offered a causal brunch and closing remarks and a weekend highlights video produced in collaboration between Empire and HutchNYC. After brunch, Fellows engaged in Sunday morning’s ‘unconference sessions’. These sessions allowed Fellows to generate and lead discussions on the topics of their choosing like ‘How to be an Instagram Expert’ prior to guests departing on Sunday afternoon.
The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans 20th Anniversary Reunion was a celebration of diverse cultures and the incredible achievements of the past 20 years and the event was a touchstone to the approximately 625 Fellows that make up the growing Fellowship community.
Paul and Daisy Soros Fellows themselves played a large role to ensure the reunion’s events were engaging and open to all Fellows and spouses. The event featured a stand-alone app (Attendify) that allowed guests to view the event schedule and served as a social media platform for attendees to share moments, post photos, and directly communicate with each other throughout the weekend.
Empire worked closely with the Soros family, The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships team, the Fellows, and the various departments at The Broadmoor for almost a year to plan and execute each component of the weekend and its individual events and components. Empire managed every detail of this momentous occasion, which included concept development, programming, venue acquisition, budgeting, registration, script writing, screen content production, technical production, catering, décor, guest travel and accommodations, and overall guest experience. In addition to the live events, Empire and Hutch NYC partnered to create the 20th Anniversary video and weekend highlights video to promote engagement by the Fellowship community in extending the brand value of the Fellowship.
Empire is proud to have partnered with The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans to produce their 20 Year Reunion to celebrate the Fellows, the tremendous accomplishments of these New Americans to achieve leadership in their chosen fields and to partake of the American dream. Empire is also honored to have had the opportunity to recognize the legacy of Mr. Paul Soros, Mrs. Daisy Soros and their Family
Empire is a leading producer of high-level events for many of the world’s leading educational institutions, associations, and foundations.
To learn more about the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans visit https://www.pdsoros.org.