The United Buddy Bears visit their hometown
After the first two exhibitions in Berlin in 2002 and in 2003, the circle of United Buddy Bears started its first global tour, visiting six cities on three continents: Kitzbuehel, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney. After more than 50,000 sea miles, this international project was back in Berlin!
Please read the Message of greeting by the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul.
United Buddy Bears in Berlin
On 15th June, the widely travelled bears received a joyful welcome during the great opening event on Bebelplatz. A large number of embassies and international artists took part – and guests from the world of politics and business enjoyed the bright sunshine and the fantastic atmosphere. Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Karin Schubert, Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Justice as well as embassies from those countries presenting the Buddy Bears next on their global tour, officially welcomed the guests and the bears on Bebelplatz in the heart of Berlin.
142 members of the United Nations were represented in the circle. Among them the 32 nations participating in the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany.
Many countries used the occasion of the Berlin exhibition to commission a new "United Buddy Bear"; whereas others are participating for the first time: Andorra, Bhutan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad & Tobago and the United Arab Emirates. Hence, some of the older "United Buddy Bears" could be sold at an auction in the late autumn of 2006. The proceeds of this auction were in aid of the UNICEF project “Schools for Africa" – with a particular focus on schools in Angola.
Historic exhibition site
The circle of "United Buddy Bears" was presented at a historic site in Berlin – surrounding the memorial “Library“ in the centre of the Bebelplatz square.
“We are here with the bears at a special historical site in Berlin. This is where the Nazis attempted, on 10 May 1933, to symbolically obliterate the thinking of various writers, politicians, artists and philosophers for ever by burning their books. […] The monument “The sunken library” created by the Israeli artist Micha Ullmann reminds us that we should never again give room to cynical, totalitarian ideas. We are determined to never again give room to intolerance, right-wing extremism and fascism!” (Excerpt from the speech by the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul)