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Bear hugs from Berlin

A circle of 143 bear sculptures representing different countries are in town to promote peace and harmony.

Published: July 4, 2012 (Issue # 1716)



  • Russias bear (4th from left) is decorated with a traditional khokhloma pattern and is popular with visitors.
    Photo: ALEXANDER BELENKY / SPT

  • Each bear represents a different country. Cubas bear smokes a cigar.
    Photo: ALEXANDER BELENKY / SPT

The world-touring United Buddy Bears are celebrating their 25th exhibition and 10th anniversary in St. Petersburg. One hundred and forty-three brightly painted two-meter tall bear figures from all over the world stand hand in hand in the Alexandrovsky Garden, promoting living together in peace and harmony.

The free outdoor exhibit is open in the city 24 hours a day through Aug. 5.

Buddy Bears first hit the streets in 2001. Project initiators Eva and Dr. Klaus Herlitz wanted art to be on display in city streets and decided to start a unique art project in Berlin.

The positive reaction we got from visitors gave us the idea to use Buddy Bears popularity to provide more targeted food for thought to promote mutual understanding between different people. In 2002 this thought developed into the idea of the United Buddy Bears, said Michael Stefanescu, managing director of Buddy Bear Berlin.

Each fibreglass bear represents a member state of the United Nations. All of the bears are standing together hand in hand, forming a large circle of equals.

Artists from all over the world were invited to realize the project. Each bear was created in a different style to express the unique character of the artists native countries, allowing visitors to take a journey around the world while visiting the exhibition.

Together Buddy Bears represent a complete work of art, spreading an enormous zest for life, said Stefanescu.

The bears promote tolerance and mutual understanding between different nations and cultures. None of the bears represent a government or current political system. They represent people and their cultures. The arrangement of the different countries symbolizes the vision of a world that will be peaceful in the future, he said.

There are also four special bears that present ideas necessary for people to co-exist peacefully. Two golden bears holding hands show that nobody can live on their own and that how people behave toward one another has consequences. The first Golden Rule bear conveys the message that the more friendly a person is to other people, the more friendliness they are likely to receive in return. The words Try to treat everyone the way you want to be treated are written on it.

The second Global Ethic bear illustrates that there can be no peace among nations without peace among religions. The bear represents the basic commandments from the Declaration toward a Global Ethic and is covered in quotes from different religions that all mean the same thing In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.

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Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegations visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmChams Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finlands Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping malls Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldnt miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBAs Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Centers Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.