Twentieth WiB Anniversary
"A chronicle can only be written by someone for whom the present is important”.
J.W. Goethe’s quote could be the slogan of the WiB 20th anniversary celebration. 350 guests attended the celebration of the club’s anniversary in the Weltsaal of the Federal Foreign Office on 30 April 2019. In addition to the members, numerous members of the Diplomatic Corps, representatives of the Federal Foreign Office, prominent figures from business and political sector, Friends and Supporters of the Club came to commemorate the special occasion. The event was under the patronage of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and represented by State Secretary Antje Leendertse, who is the new patron of WiB this year. She expressed her appreciation for the the volunteer work of the active members and the executive board in her speech. The club’s program and new changes were also reviewed this evening. The anniversary publication nicely documented the club’s achievements of the last 20 years.
The president of the club, Dr. Gundula Beyer-Zouboulis said in her speech: “They came as guests, then we became neighbors or friends, share experiences and talk to each other despite the political differences between our countries." Since the diplomatic service is no longer male-dominated, the originally all female club developed into a club for all interested diplomats. Therefore it is important that the club cater to appropriate themes and select suitable time frame in order to attract great number of attendance at its diverse programs.
As the representative of the WiB Advisory Board and the regional groups, Naglaa Abdelsalaam, the wife of the Egyptian Ambassador, spoke about the importance of WiB to members of the diplomatic corps. She gave emphasis to the personal friendships and the special connection to Germany that she has experienced during her years of assignment in Berlin.
Representing the first presidium, the former WiB president, Annemarie Ziefer, fondly shared with the audience the history of the club. She took the audience to see what mattered then and what is still so important today: the approach to each other, the open conversation in trustsful atmosphere and the interest in each other. Only through these elements the close contact within WiB and the international understanding become possible. Quoted from the greetings of Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel in the WiB anniversary publication: “Encounters, understanding and tolerance between cultures will strive and live everyday anew. This undoubtedly is for the benefit of our inter-state relations.”
The evening was filled by colorful cultural program such as dancers from Ecuador, Indonesian percussion and dance group, the Icelandic singer Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir, the Diplomatic Choir of Berlin and JAAzz, the jazz band of the Foreign Office. Adding to the fun entertainment of the evening was the raffle. The international buffet of delicacies from various countries was the generous contribution of the members of the diplomatic corps which was complemented by fine wine from Saxony.