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German Buddy bear enters Taiwan high school campus

Kaohsiung, June 13 (CNA) Germany has presented one of its famous Buddy bears to a senior high school in southern Taiwan as part of its efforts to promote its ideal of "living together in peace and harmony on the Earth".

Fengshan Senior High School in Kaohsiung County's Fengshan City hosted a ceremony Saturday to celebrate its receipt of Germany's trademark fiberglass Buddy bear. Many dignitaries, including Birgitt Ory, director-general of the German Institute in Taipei which represents German interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties, and Kaohsiung Magistrate Yang Chiu-hsing attended the Buddy bear donation ceremony.

Since the Buddy bear was delivered four days ago, Hung Chun-yuan, a fine arts teacher at the school, has been leading a group of students to paint it. Four students from the German School in Taipei also joined the efforts Saturday to paint the bear in acrylic colors.

The painting project is scheduled to be completed Sunday and the bear will then be sent to Germany's representative office in Taipei where a formal inauguration ceremony will be held June 27 to mark the Buddy bear's arrival on a Taiwan school campus.

Yang said he welcomes the gift of a Buddy bear to help promote student and cultural exchanges between his county and Germany.

"The Buddy bear will certainly inspire more interaction and cooperation between our two countries and help expand local students' international perspectives and vision," Yang said.

The Buddy bear, a "hybrid" of Taiwan's endemic Formosan black bear and Germany's indigenous Brown bear, will be taken to two major international sports events to be held in Taiwan later this year -- the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung City and the 21st Summer Deaflympics in Taipei.

The German Institute in Taipei has launched a campaign to solicit entries for naming the Buddy bear. Prospective participants should mail their entries before Oct.3, it said.

Germany has presented a total of 1,300 Buddy bears to countries around the world and one at the Fengshan school has been given the serial number "1289." The German Institute in Taipei has forged partnerships with five Taiwan schools, one of which is Fengshan Senior High School. Twelve German students were at the Fengshan school on a study tour in May, and 12 students from the school are scheduled to visit Germany for two weeks later this year.

(By Sofia Wu)




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