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German Buddy bear makes debut in Taipei

Taipei, June 27 (CNA)
A German Buddy bear, painted by local school teachers and students to resemble a Formosan black bear, was debuted in Taipei Saturday as part of efforts to promote the ideals of "living together in peace and harmony on the Earth." Addressing the inaugural ceremony at Spot Cinema, Birgitt Ory, director general of the German Institute in Taipei, said the first German Buddy bear was launched in 2001 as part of a program to promote world peace and harmony.
As the program drew an enthusiastic response, organizers decided to continue carrying out it. To date, Ory said, 1,300 German Buddy bears have been produced and delivered to many countries around the world.
"Each Buddy bear has a unique thematic motif and name, " said the top German representative in Taiwan.
According to Ory, 140 Buddy bears are now on global tours.
The Buddy bear with a serial number of "1289" arrived in Taiwan May 6. Artistic design and painting for the Buddy bear were carried out by students and teachers at two senior high schools in Kaohsiung County's Fengshan City.
Ory said the newly painted 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 in July and the 21st Summer Deaflympics in Taipei in September.
The Buddy bear will also appear at a German concert to be held at the National Concert Hall in Taipei in October and a special film festival marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall to spread the messages of peace, goodwill and mutual understanding.
Ory said 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.
The Buddy bear inaugural ceremony drew the attendance of some 300 well-wishers from home and abroad, including Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan and German film director Wolfgang Becker.
Lai said the "hybrid" Buddy bear symbolizes further development of Taiwan-German friendship.

(By Sofia Wu)



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