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Message of Greeting by the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for the United Buddy Bears Exhibition in Cairo and Jerusalem. 11.04.2007

The 138 Buddy Bears, created by artists from all over the world, have now arrived in the Middle East for the next stage of their world tour. This form of cross-border cultural exchange has always been an essential part of art and culture and is intended to inspire us at all levels and in all social spheres, particularly in the age of globalization.

An initial glance is enough to show us that despite their similarity, the Buddy Bears differ from one another as much as we do. Together, they form a work of art which symbolizes the longing for unity within diversity, for a world in which people and cultures learn to know and live in peace with one another, a world of tolerance, friendship and mutual understanding.

I am delighted that the Buddy Bears, as ambassadors for Berlin and for a Germany that seeks contact with the rest of the world, can now enjoy stopovers in Cairo and Jerusalem, in the two countries which succeeded in putting an end to a long and difficult conflict by signing a peace treaty.

Both cities have a unique historical and symbolic tradition, and surely few places are more deeply shrouded in controversy than Jerusalem. And yet people all over the world also associate Jerusalem with values such as mutual respect, tolerance and hope for a peaceful world. Values of which the Buddy Bears want to remind us.

Message of greeting by Hans-Dietrich Genscher. 11.04.2007

“With the United Buddy Bears - designed by artists from all over the world – a tangible part of Berlin is visiting Cairo, the Egyptian capital.

Germany and Egypt have close ties and the two countries are on very friendly terms. President Mubarak and I have personally known each other for almost three decades now.

On their journey around the world, the United Buddy Bears have become a symbol of the desire for peace, freedom and agreement. Every country has its own culture, history and particular characteristics, expressed by every single artist on the individual Buddy Bears. As a whole, they are an impressive work of art and a symbol of the cultural wealth of our world.

I hope that the significance of the United Buddy Bears exhibition will go beyond making an important contribution to widening the cultural exchange between Egypt and Germany. I would like to see that the visitors of the exhibition also perceive that the bears with their similarities and dissimilarities promote a better understanding and cooperation between the people of this world – as an important step towards universal peace.“


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