United Buddy Bears

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One World Buddy Bear
United Buddy Bears — Exhibition Paris 2012

Buddy Bears are a series of painted, life-size fibreglass bear sculptures originally developed in Berlin, Germany. The first Buddy Bear was created by the German businesspeople Klaus and Eva Herlitz, in cooperation with the sculptor Roman Strobl in 2001.

The two concepts Buddy Bears and United Buddy Bears stand for two very different types of activity. The Buddy Bears are an urban event, comparable to other events with a great diversity of animal sculptures that bring new life into many city centres. The United Buddy Bears, however, are primarily about their message - a message of peace, international understanding and tolerance among the nations, cultures and religions of this world.[1]

Buddy Bears on the streets and squares of Berlin[edit]

Two Buddy Bears at Kurfürstendamm 21, Berlin
United Buddy Bears, Exhibition
Rio de Janeiro,[2] Copacabana 2014

The first activities were presented as the Buddy Bear Berlin Show. In 2001, artists painted approximately 350 bears to appear in the public domain, as decorative elements in the streets of Berlin. Four different bear designs (one standing on all four paws, one standing on two legs, one standing on its head and one in a sitting position) took part in this activity in the city centre of Berlin.[3] Afterwards, many of the bears were sold at auctions in aid of child relief organisations. Nowadays, these Berlin Buddy Bears are exclusively presented on private premises, in front of hotels and embassies as well as in the foyers of various office buildings.

There have already been exhibitions of the original Buddy Bears — designed by local artists — in the cities of Shanghai (2004), Buenos Aires (2005) and St. Gallen / Switzerland (2006).

United Buddy Bears - The Art of Tolerance[edit]

United Buddy Bears, Exhibition Berlin 2006
United Buddy Bears, Exhibition Vienna 2006
United Buddy Bears, Exhibition Cairo 2007
United Buddy Bears, Exhibition Jerusalem 2007
United Buddy Bears, Exhibition Buenos Aires 2009
United Buddy Bears, Exhibition Astana (Kazakhstan) 2010
United Buddy Bears, Exhibition Helsinki 2010, Senate Square
United Buddy Bears, Exhibition Sofia 2011, Square St Nedelya
United Buddy Bears, Exhibition
Kuala Lumpur 2011/2012

The United Buddy Bears are an international art exhibition with more than 140 two metre tall fibreglass bears. Under the motto: We have to get to know each other better, it makes us understand one another better, trust each other more, and live together more peacefully more than 140 countries acknowledged by the United Nations are represented, promoting tolerance, international understanding and the great concept of different nations and cultures living in peace and harmony. The bears stand hand in hand in a peaceful circle (The Art of Tolerance[4]).

One important prerequisite for this international unifying project is to choose artists from the individual countries — for the circle to reflect the diversity of the cultures of one world. The observer learns about the culture, the history, the people and the landscape of the individual countries — large or small. Hence the United Buddy Bears circle has become a platform for even the smallest and poorest countries which frequently remain unnoticed. Suddenly, they are equal to larger and often rich nations.

The bears were on display between June and November 2002, in a circle around the Brandenburg Gate. Around 1.5 million people visited this first exhibition.

United Buddy Bears - Worldtour[edit]

On 6 November 2002, the bears were moved to new locations, including their respective countries embassies in Berlin, or back to country that they were based on. Some of the bears were auctioned off to raise money for UNICEF.

After the circle of "United Buddy Bears" had been such an overwhelming success in 2002, a new circle was created in 2003. The idea was to send the circle on a global tour.[5]

On their global tour, the "United Buddy Bears" promote peace, love, tolerance and international understanding. The circle changes every time it reaches a new city. This is not only due to the local conditions, but also to their constantly changing order, as the bears are always set up in alphabetic order, following the local language of the host country. This always leads to new and sometimes politically very interesting proximities.

Entry to the exhibitions is always free. This makes it possible for many school classes to visit the exhibitions in the morning — as part of their lessons — to explore and learn a lot about the culture, history, landscape, economy and music of all five continents in a playful manner. During past exhibitions more than 30 million visitors have already admired the colourful United Buddy Bears.

In every metropolis, the United Buddy Bears exhibitions are supported by the government, the foreign ministries, the mayors and the UNICEF organisations. Heads of state - for example the Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, the German Federal President, Horst Köhler and First Lady of Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak as well as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors such as Sir Peter Ustinov,[6] Jackie Chan,[7] Christiane Hörbiger, Mia Farrow,[8] Iris Berben and Ken Done have opened these exhibitions all over the world. United Buddy Bears Special Ambassador is the actress Dennenesch Zoudé.[9]

The bears have been displayed at the following Stations since the beginning of the tour:

Year Country / City
Site of exhibition
Patron of the exhibition / Opening by
2002
June - November
 Germany
Berlin, Right next to the Brandenburg Gate - Pariser Platz
Joschka Fischer, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs
Klaus Wowereit, Berlin’s Governing Mayor
2003
July - November
 Germany
Berlin, Right next to the Brandenburg Gate - Pariser Platz
Sir Peter Ustinov, Actor and UNICEF World Ambassador
2004
January - February
 Austria
Kitzbühel
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Horst Wendling, Mayor of Kitzbühel
2004
May - June
 Hong Kong
Hong Kong, Victoria Park
Jackie Chan, Actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Patrick Ho, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Home Affairs
2004 / 2005
December - January
 Turkey
Istanbul, Tepebaşı Pera Square, Beyoğlu
Ahmet Misbah Demircan, Mayor of Beyoğlu
Rainer Möckelmann, German General Consul in Istanbul
2005
April - May
 Japan
Tokyo,[10] Roppongi Hills
Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan
Horst Köhler, President of the Federal Republic of Germany
2005
October - November
 South Korea
Seoul, Olympic Park
Messages of greeting from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Korea, Ban Ki-moon
2006
March - April
 Australia
Sydney, Sydney Opera HouseCircular Quay
John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia
Ken Done, Artist and UNICEF Ambassador
2006
June - July
 Germany
Berlin,[11] Bebelplatz
Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development
Karin Schubert, Mayor of Berlin
Mia Farrow, American actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
2006
September - October
 Austria
Vienna, Karlsplatz
Grete Laska, Deputy Mayor of Vienna
Karin Schubert, Mayor of Berlin
Christiane Hörbiger, Film actress and UNICEF Ambassador
2007
April - May
 Egypt
Cairo,[12] Gezira Promenade Zamalek
Suzanne Mubarak, First Lady of Egypt
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former German Foreign Minister
Abdel Azim Wazir, Governor of Cairo
2007
August - September
 Israel
Jerusalem, Safra Square
Tzipi Livni, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Israel
Yigal Amedi, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem
Iris Berben, German actress and winners of the Women's World Award 2004
2008
May - June
 Poland
Warsaw, Castle Square
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of the City of Warsaw
Klaus Wowereit, Governing Mayor of Berlin
Anne Hidalgo, First Deputy Mayor of Paris
2008
July -August
 Germany
Stuttgart, Schlossplatz
Wolfgang Schuster, Lord Mayor of Stuttgart
2008
October
 North Korea
Pyongyang,[13] Moran Hill Youth Park, close to the Kim-Il-Sung statue
Mun Jae Chol, Foreign Affairs of North-Korea
Thomas Schäfer, German Ambassador in North Korea
2009
March - April
 Argentina
Buenos Aires,[14] Plaza San Martin
Mauricio Macri, Mayor of Buenos Aires
Hernán Lombardi, Minister for Cultural Affairs
2009
May - June
 Uruguay
Montevideo,[15] Plaza Independencia
Tabaré Vázquez, President of Uruguay
Ricardo Ehrlich, Mayor of Montevideo
Bernhard Graf von Waldersee, German Ambassador in Uruguay
2009 / 2010
November - April
 Germany
Berlin,[16] Hauptbahnhof, Indoor
Ursula von der Leyen, Federal Ministry of Family Affairs
Dennenesch Zoudé, German actress and United Buddy Bears Special Ambassador
2010
May - July
 Kazakhstan
Astana, Right next to the Bayterek Tower
Imangali Tasmagambetov, Akim of Astana
Rainer Schlageter, German Ambassador in Kazakhstan
2010
September - October
 Finland
Helsinki,[17] Senate Square
Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki
Peter Scholz, German Ambassador in Finland
2011
April - May
 Bulgaria
Sofia,[18] Square St Nedelya
Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia
Klaus Wowereit, Berlin’s Governing Mayor
Matthias Martin Höpfner, German Ambassador in Bulgaria
2011
June - October
 Germany
Berlin,[19] Kurfürstendamm
Klaus Wowereit, Berlin’s Governing Mayor
Monika Thiemen, Mayor of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf
2011 / 2012
December - February
 Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur,[20][21] Right next to the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur[22]
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Sultan of Selangor
Ahmad Fuad Ismail, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur
2012
March - May
 India
New Delhi,[23][24] Connaught Place
Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi
Klaus Wowereit, Berlin’s Governing Mayor
2012
June - August
 Russia
Saint Petersburg,[25][26] Alexander Garden, right next to the Palace Square
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
Joachim Gauck, President of Germany[27]
2012
October–November
 France
Paris[28][29][30] / Eiffel Tower - Champ de Mars
Guido Westerwelle, German Minister of Foreign Affairs
Bertrand Delanoë, Mayor of Paris
Pierre Schapira, Member of the European Parliament
2014
May - July
 Brazil
Rio de Janeiro,[31] Copacabana
Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro
Jürgen Trittin, German Federal Ministry for the Environment from 1998-2005
Harald Klein, German General Consul in Rio de Janeiro

Particular highlights with a political dimension[edit]

  • 2003 Berlin: Having visited the exhibition in Berlin in 2002, Sir Peter Ustinov insisted that Iraq should be represented in the circle of United Buddy Bears in the future. In 2003, Iraq took part in the circle for the first time and Ustinov gave the opening address of the exhibition in the presence of more than 70 ambassadors.
  • 2004 Hong Kong: Jackie Chan saw the exhibition in Berlin in 2003. On his initiative, the international bears travelled to Hong Kong one year later. Chan became the patron for this event. More than 3,000 VIPs from the world of politics, business and culture took part in the opening ceremony.[32]
  • 2005 Seoul: In the run-up to the exhibition in South Korea, two artists got the permission to travel from North Korea to Germany via Beijing in order to design a United Buddy Bear in Berlin on behalf of their country. Hence it was possible that both North- and South Korea stood together hand in hand for the first time during an art exhibition.
  • 2007 Jerusalem: All countries of the Arab World were represented in the circle of 132 nations, with a Palestinian bear on an equal footing with all the other bears for the first time[33] in Jerusalem.[34]
  • 2008 Pyongyang: It was the first exhibition in North Korea that was accessible for everyone and open to everybody. According to official information, around 100,000 visitors were counted every week in Pyongyang.
  • 2012 Paris: United Buddy Bears are on show near the Eiffel Tower to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the twinning of Paris and Berlin and the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty which marked the official reconciliation between France and Germany after world war two.
  • 2014 Rio de Janeiro: From May till July the famous United Buddy Bears exhibit has found its way to the shores of Rio de Janeiro just in time for the 2014 soccer World Cup. The exhibition was held on the Copacabana promenade, which attracted more than 1,000,000 people. The presentation consisted of more than 140 bear sculptures, each two metres high and designed by a different artist.[35]

United Buddy Bears - The Minis[edit]

Since 2002, many artists have been able to come to Berlin thanks to the support of the two largest German airlines and the Hotel Association Berlin-Brandenburg. Many of these artists have not only designed a 2 metre tall bear, but also a smaller bear (1 metre) on behalf of their individual countries.

In the autumn of 2003, the circle of United Buddy Bears-The Minis — was presented in Berlin for the first time. Since then, this circle has been shown in Frankfurt/Main, in Potsdam and at the Sony Center in Berlin — to name just a few locations. Since 2012, they have also been travelling to destinations outside of Germany, e.g. Bratislava in  Slovakia, Borås[36] in  Sweden and Yekaterinburg in  Russia.[37]

Aid for Children in Need[edit]

Buddy Bear activities and help for children in need have formed an inseparable unit. New United Buddy Bears are often designed to replace the previous unique sculpture of a particular country. Many countries are already represented with the third or fourth bear. The previous bears designed on behalf of the respective countries are generally sold at auctions.

A total of Euro 2,000,000 (as per November 2013) has so far been generated through donations and selling Buddy Bears at auction in aid of UNICEF and local organisations helping children in need.

Artists from all over the world[edit]

In the early years, the Bears were designed by regional artists and Berlin celebrities for the exhibition Art in the City.[38] From 2002 onwards, thanks to support from Lufthansa, Air Berlin and the Berlin Hotel Association, artists from all five continents took part in the international project United Buddy Bears. More than 240 artists from over 150 countries have taken part in this project to date,[39] such as, for example Arik Brauer, Hernando León, Ibrahim Hazimeh, Carlos Páez Vilaró, Seo Soo-Kyoung, Helge Leiberg, Leda Luss Luyken – this is also echoed by the artist and UNICEF Australian National Ambassador, Ken Done.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Herlitz, Eva & Klaus, Buddy Bear Berlin Show. NeptunArt Publisher, 2001. ISBN 3-85820-152-9.
  • Herlitz, Eva & Klaus, United Buddy Bears — Die Kunst der Toleranz. Bostelmann & Siebenhaar Publishers, 2003. ISBN 3-936962-00-6.
  • Herlitz, Eva & Klaus, United Buddy Bears — World Tour. NeptunArt Publisher, 2006. ISBN 3-85820-189-8.
  • Herlitz, Eva & Klaus, United Buddy Bears — The Art of Tolerance. 384 pages, English/German, December 2009, ISBN 978-3-00-029417-4.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kastle Waserman: Berlin's Buddy Bears[dead link]
  2. ^ CNTV United Buddy Bears, Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana 2014
  3. ^ Buddy Bears on the streets of Berlin, 2001.
  4. ^ The Art of Tolerance
  5. ^ "Global Tour". Buddy-baer.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  6. ^ Peter Ustinov and United Buddy Bears[dead link]
  7. ^ "Jackie Chan and the Buddy Bears". Jackiechankids.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  8. ^ "Mia Farrow and United Buddy Bears". Photos1.blogger.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  9. ^ "Dennenesch Zoudé and United Buddy Bears". Buddy-baer.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  10. ^ "Tokyo 2005". Afactor.net. 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  11. ^ "Berlin 2006". Pbase.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  12. ^ "Cairo 2007". Jackiechankids.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  13. ^ "Pyongyang 2008". Theseoultimes.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  14. ^ "Buenos Aires 2009". Gabrielrobledo.com.ar. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  15. ^ "Montevideo 2009". Elpais.com.uy. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  16. ^ "Berlin - Hauptbahnhof 2010". Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  17. ^ Photo blog: United Buddy Bears in Helsinki 2010
  18. ^ Name * (2011-04-11). "Video:United Buddy Bears in Sofia, Bulgaria". Downpourbg.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  19. ^ "Berlin 2011". Grotte47.blog.de. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  20. ^ New Straits Times, 15 December 2011: “Buddy Bears promote global understanding”
  21. ^ "Video: United Buddy Bears in Kuala Lumpur". Youtube.com. 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2012-04-07. 
  22. ^ Khairir, Ihsan (2012-01-19). "United Buddy Bears in Kuala Lumpur". Ihsankhairir.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  23. ^ New Delhi 2012
  24. ^ Bears of the world unite
  25. ^ The St. Petersburg Times, July 4, 2012
  26. ^ United Buddy Bears in Saint Petersburg 2012
  27. ^ Goethe Institute Russia
  28. ^ Paris, Champ de Mars 2012 - Video
  29. ^ French Embassy in Berlin: "Berliner Buddy Bären unter dem Eiffelturm"
  30. ^ United Buddy Bears in Paris 2012
  31. ^ Colorful bear statues representing UN member states on display in Rio de Janeiro
  32. ^ Madeline Chan. "Hong Kong 2004". Worldisround.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  33. ^ The Jerusalem Post, Tuesday, July 31, 2007, P. 7 (NEWS): "Jerusalem bears down for international exhibition" by Yaffi Spodek
  34. ^ "United Buddy Bears in Jerusalem". Ubb.jerusalem.muni.il. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  35. ^ Buddy Bears welcome Rio World Cup, May 2nd, 2014
  36. ^ Video Borås
  37. ^ United Buddy Bears (The Minis) in Yekaterinburg, 2013.
  38. ^ Eva und Klaus Herlitz: Buddy Bär Berlin Show, page 20, 21 ff, Neptun Verlag AG, CH-8280 Kreuzlingen, ISBN 3-85820-152-9.
  39. ^ Eva und Klaus Herlitz: United Buddy Bears — The Art of Tolerance, Page 52 - 357, Berlin, 2009/10, ISBN 978-3-00-029417-4.

External links[edit]