Message of Greetings by the actress and United Buddy Bears Special Ambassador Dennenesch Zoudé
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear friends of Berlin & bears,
It is a great honour and joy for me to celebrate the inauguration of this unique exhibition together with you. Over the past years, the United Buddy Bears have travelled all five continents as colourful ambassadors – always welcomed by several hundred thousand rapturous visitors. I was deeply impressed how the Buddy Bears managed to set signs with a tremendous symbolic power. Behind the idea of the Buddy Bears is a vision connecting all the people of this world: The vision of living together in peace, hand in hand.
144 United Buddy Bears represent 144 nations reaching out to join hands – bridging all cultural, political and religious differences. I think that this simple gesture can achieve so much … in everyday life as much as in politics. I have always been fascinated by the fact that all the bears have the same shape, yet are so very different. And because they are lined up in alphabetical order, it suddenly turns out that Iraq and Iran are standing together hand in hand under the letter ‚I’, right next to Israel! It is not always possible to choose one’s neighbour. This is where I see the Buddy Bears as our partners. They set a positive example, showing us how we can make one step towards one another and indicating that we can only live together in peace if we are curious about each other. If we do not perceive otherness as a threat, but as an enriching experience and an opportunity to learn from one another.
Last year, the United Buddy Bears travelled to Pyongyang in North Korea – as the first exhibition from abroad that was open to the public. Every week, several hundred thousand visitors came to see the exhibition: For the people in a country as isolated as North Korea, each individual bear was like a small piece of the whole wide world.
At the same time, every bear also stands for Berlin as our city’s heraldic animal. And which other city could be more suitable than Berlin to communicate the vision of this exhibition? Contrasts and contradictions are united here. So much hope and diversity are generated in this city – a city where people were separated for decades, stretching out their hands across walls and borders.
With today’s inauguration of the latest exhibition, I am delighted to welcome the United Buddy Bears in Berlin once more.