Opening Ceremony 2015/2016
A sunny September 17th heralded bright prospects for Willkommen in Berlin as expectant faces rapidly filled the Europa Hall of the Federal Foreign Office.
President Tone Korssund-Eichinger inaugurated the year with the club's patron, State Secretary Stefan Steinlein, who addressed the pressing issue of migration, among other topics, in his speech:
"You might not be natives of Berlin, but with your expertise, your experience and skills you can definitely make a difference for those who have arrived here and need a hand. Permit me to encourage those of you who might be interested to take an extra step, to reach out and also make refugees feel welcome here in Berlin." The State Secretary also emphasized how the work of WIB in many ways reflects that of the Foreign Office.
The President picked up the thread in her response: "Many of our members are actively engaged in work with refugees. Additionally, as a club, we have taken a first step and made a donation to the "Aktion Deutschland hilft - Flüchtlinge" campaign (Germany helps - Refugees). We will continue to be particularly attentive to the issue. It is not only in this context, however, that we consider how we can develop our welcoming culture further. All club members work together towards the goal of broadmindedness, friendship and international understanding".
Musical accompaniment for the event was provided by the Diplomatic Choir of Berlin, under the baton of club member Barbara Leifer. Enthralled by African song and rhythms, the mood of those in the hall soared even higher. Maria Fischer's animated presentation of the 33 Interest Groups mirrored the enthusiasm of the visitors.
Following the official portion of the program, the Interest Groups presented themselves in the adjoining space, to give members and guests of WiB the opportunity to learn more about the activities on offer and enroll in the groups of their choice.
In the coming season, once again, Willkommen in Berlin will offer a diverse and exciting programme of activities. The Executive Committee looks forward to interesting encounters!