For the first time the United Buddy Bears were in Central America, in Guatemala!
From April 25 to May 12, 2019, 144 national bears stood hand in hand in the World Heritage city of Antigua in the Parque Central on the Plaza Mayor.
From May 17 to June 2, the bears were part of the cultural festival of Guatemala City (Festival Cultural Paseo de la Sexta) and presented the message of tolerance and international understanding in the Plaza de la Constitución.
In total, about 1.1 million visitors were counted at the two exhibition venues! The Guatemalan media reported almost daily in the newspapers, on the radio and on television, 180 digital advertising signs had been distributed in the capital and a 50-page special supplement of the highest-circulation newspaper - Prensa Libre - was published.
The motto of the United Buddy Bears - the art of tolerance, the dialogue of cultures and the idea of peaceful coexistence - was not only accepted by the media, but also by the population: several visitors shot videos and several schools participated by discussing the topic in the classroom. In addition, painting activities for children, open-air art with artists from all over the world, classical and pop folklore concerts and dance performances deepened the exchange among cultures and promoted the youngest of society.
The exhibition was initiated by the German Embassy, represented by Ambassador Harald Klein, and was made possible thanks to the great support of several partners and sponsors.
The United Buddy Bears exhibition in Guatemala City's Plaza de la Constitución began on May 17 with the inauguration of the Paseo de la Sexta cultural festival and a concert at the Concha Acústica (The Music Shell). 8-year-old pianist Yahaira Tubac and children's choir Coro Novella fascinated guests from all over the world and invited the crowd to sing along folkloric songs, such as Aleluya, Cobán, Oye and Sopa de Caraco.
The United Buddy Bears were warmly welcomed by German Ambassador Harald Klein, the initiator of the exhibition, and many German flags were waved enthusiastically. A large number of guests visited then the cathedral, where a classical concert was given, which was broadcast live on TV (Guatevisión). The tenor Héctor Palomo, performing arias from the operas Carmen, Madame Butterfly, Turandot, La Traviate and Nabucco, and the Municipal Orchestra (Orquesta Municipal) were heard.
The following day, May 18, was all about the country bears and their motto: The Art of Tolerance. At a large stage specially set up for the opening, German Ambassador Harald Klein, Mayor Ricardo Quiñónez and Eva Herlitz addressed the subject of international understanding and peaceful coexistence. Mr. Quiñónez announced that he wanted to establish a place of tolerance in the city.
The ceremonial moments of the opening ceremony were a firework display, the singing of the national anthem Guatemala's and the unveiling of the new Guatemalan Buddy Bear, which was created by the young Guatemalan artist Darwin Osiel Martínez. Watch the video here (about 30 minutes, in Spanish).
On Thursday, April 25, at 5 pm, the 33rd United Buddy Bears exhibition was opened in Guatemala's former capital Antigua, by Harald Klein, the German ambassador to Guatemala, and Susana Asencio Lueg, the city's mayor. The inventors of the United Buddy Bears, Eva and Dr. Klaus Herlitz, attended the occasion and, together with their 149 bears (144 country bears and 5 Special Bears), carried on the art of tolerance and international understanding. Many residents and tourists flocked to the Plaza Mayor in the Parque Central to be part of this premiere in Central America.
Please find the Message of Greeting of the Foreign Minister of Guatemala (in Spanish).
The exhibition owes its origin and the possibility to be visited all over the world completely free of charge to the committed work of many institutions, organisations, administrative bodies, companies and individuals.
For supporting the exhibitions of the United Buddy Bears in Antigua and Guatemala City in 2019 we want to thank: