Several years ago, Eva Herlitz of Berlin, Germany, was visiting New York City when the New York City Painted Cow project was in full swing. Everywhere she went in the city she saw beautifully painted, life-sized cows which were to be auctioned off for charity after their display. A thought began in Eva's mind which eventually led to The United Buddy Bears project - a project which has come to be very close to Jackie Chan's heart.

The United Buddy Bear project has been around for a few years, but this year is very special because the bears are going on a world tour....and they are stopping in Hong Kong! Their first stop was in Kitzbuehel, Austria and they will be in Hong Kong in May and June of 2004. Jackie Chan was instrumental in making the Hong Kong show happen. His love for the Buddy Bears and for what they represent is no secret to those who know him. While he was filming Around the World in 80 Days in Berlin, Jackie fell in love with the bears and had his photo taken with as many as he could find. He bought several of the bears himself and even visited a Buddy Bear workshop! Read on! Eva shares some of her thoughts about the Buddy Bear project with you!

Eva with Jackie in Hong Kong

Through a series of emails to the Kids Corner webmaster, Eva has shared many of her thoughts and ideas concerning the United Buddy Bears and what they stand for. Here is a collection of these thoughts.


The goal of The United Buddy Bears project is to promote global peace and tolerance. The circle of the United Buddy Bears is more than just all the other painted animal sculptures because these bears have many messages to tell everybody - children and adults as well.

The 120 bears in the circle represent 120 countries that are members of the United Nations. One-hundred twenty artists who came from these countries painted their bears in such a way as to allow people to get a better impression of their countries. The idea is that if the bears represent the different countries, maybe people could get more information about different cultures from all over the world. The painted bears will raise curiosity and soon people will be seeking out more information about different countries.

Children should try to get information about people living in other countries for sometimes they mistrust people because they look different and have different habits. When children are informed about the living conditions in the home countries of these people, their mistrust will disappear! The bears want to encourage people to this way of thinking.

Art is a way of communicating without shared language. People from all over the world can understand the messages on the painted bears without knowing each others' languages. This is a wonderful thing! When the artists from all over the world worked together in a big studio in Berlin, it often happened that they had to communicate without speaking each others' language. Somehow they managed and they all worked together very peacefully, helped each other, and had a lot of fun together. Many of the artists have very good memories of the time in Berlin when they painted their bears. They were proud to be chosen to represent their countries and they had a lot of interesting conversations. They went back to their home countries having made lots of new friends!

It is very important to remember the motto of our circle: We have to get to know each other better. It makes us understand one another, trust each other more, and live together more peacefully. Understanding of our fellow human beings shouldn't start with people from other countries, however. Children and adults should try to understand the people they meet in their daily lives. If they treat them as nicely as possible, they will be rewarded with nice reactions from others!

The biggest wish I have is that anyone who sees a Buddy Bear will subconsciously be reminded of all the important things the Circle of United Buddy Bears represents. That's the reason why I so fervently express all these things again and again.

Eva Herlitz

Berlin, 2004