In our first visit to Berlin, as we walked through the city, we occasionally came across a large fiberglass bear standing near an occasional embassy. Here’s one:
We knew the official symbol of the city is a Bear, so we didn’t put much thought into it. And then, one day, we came across this:
…and got acquainted with the “United Buddy Bears” project. Beautiful, beautiful idea.
The “United Buddy Bears” were created in 2002 by Eva and Klaus Herlitz. Their motto is:
“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”.
The project as a whole is intended to enhance understanding and tolerance. The creators say that “As a basis for a better understanding the individual design of each bear includes a lot of information about the different countries. Together with the symbolism of the circle love, peace, friendship, tolerance and international understanding are promoted”. It is also a cute means of fundraising for charity organizations, and the creators claim the project, which travels around the world, raised around 1.4 million euro for charity so far.
As for the project itself, it consists of 138 “national” bears, created by artists from the 138 countries represented. It had traveled from Berlin to Kitzbuehel (Austria), Hong-Kong, Istanbul, Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney, Berlin again, Vienna and Cairo. Incidentally, the bears will come to Jerusalem in August. We promise you a picture of them in the “holy city” when they arrive. It is also scheduled to arrive in Buenos Aires, Beijing and Addis Abeba.
This is their website: United Buddy Bears.