The wide range of female characters portrayed in fairy and folk tales was the focus of WiB's Special Event in November.
The State Secretary of the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Dr. Pirko Kristin Zinnow, the ambassador of Columbia, H.E. María Lorena Gutiérrez Botero, and WiB President Tone Korssund-Eichinger convened in the Reading Room of the Federal Foreign Office for a podium discussion moderated by WiB member Silke Fischer, director of Märchenland (Fairytale Land).
As an introduction to the discussion, each podium guest read a fairytale from her homeland - fairy tales that could not have been more different - about strong women and girls, who take control of their own destinies.
Dr Zinnow transported the audience to the shores of Lake Schwerin, with Mecklenburg-born author Carl Beyer's "Nebelnixe" (Mermaid of the Mist). The state representative used the opportunity to campaign for Schwerin's Residential Palace ensemble to be included in the list of UNSECO World Cultural Heritage sites. Tone Korssund-Eichinger introduced us to Huldra, a supernatural creature in Scandinavian folklore that enchants men and lures them astray - depending on the region, Huldra has either a cow's tail or a fox's brush. The Colombian ambassador's fairytale, "El Jazmín de la Princesa“, tells the story of a princess, whose voice is mimicked by a moon-charmed jasmine flower.
Following a lively discussion peppered by personal experiences, members of the audience were invited to contribute their own recollections of fairy tales and of female figures in the storytelling culture of their countries of origin.
The German Centre for Fairytale Culture, organizers of Berlin's Fairytale Days, was co-founded by Silke Fischer in 2004 with the aim of preserving the fairytale as world heritage and contributing the fairytale's universal message to current societal discourse. Fairytales can act as a link between peoples and cultures. To maintain them is to promote understanding among nations. For this reason, they are also an excellent topic for Willkommen in Berlin.