WiB Opening Event 2022/23

In all beginnings dwells a magic force
Protecting us and helping us to live.

Hermann Hesse, Stufen.

With these words Hermann Hesse called on to dare a new beginning, feeling inspired by the joy and fascination thereof. The Opening Event of the Club Year 2022/23 which took place in the Federal Foreign Office (Europasaal) on Wednesday, 28 September 2022 for the first time after the pandemic break, was also steeped in joy and fascination of a new beginning. Thus the occasion was celebrated as an extraordinary event: finally face to face meetings taking place. After the long period of pandemic restrictions, a wave of joy and gratitude about this new impulse of our club was clearly palpable.

WiB Patron Ms. Susanne Baumann, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, emphasized the importance of the club in her greeting address, expressing her appreciation of international understanding, tolerance, friendship and cultural exchange amongst nations. During events and group meetings, even persons belonging to nations without reciprocal diplomatic relationships come together. On behalf of the Federal Foreign Office, she thanked for the extraordinary work done by the club, that is, building many bridges. Especially in times of strengthening nationalisms, this cannot be overemphasized enough. „The welcoming culture of the club is particularly precious for the newly arriving diplomates and their families. It is due to your commitment that guests from all over the world become friends“.

WiB President Ms. Christine Hatakka expressed her joy about the possibility of meetings in persona and about getting back to „a hopefully normal year“ and announced the highlights of  the upcoming year. The group coordinator Ms. Karla Steinert-Thys gave an outlook on a considerable variety of interest groups and club activities - comprising a broad range of languages, culture, history, politics, sciences, society issues and sports.

A final vote of thanks went to Ms. Barbara Hoggard-Lulay, the Head of Administrative Office at the Federal foreign Office which is actually the „heart“ of the club. This year, the Opening Event was accompanied by the musical live performance of „SoloWay“, the Ukrainian Vocal Ensemble of the Diplomatic Choir Berlin. „The cooperation with the Diplomatic Choir of Berlin made us find our feet in the current situation.“ With these words the singers who usually are accompanied by the pianist Oleksandra Martsynchyk expressed their gratitude over and over again. It is very touching to see that this group was given the opportunity to perform on the occasion of the Opening Event 2022/23 of our club, given the current situation. The motto of the club shall apply for them as well „WILLKOMMEN IN BERLIN“.

Text by Marie-Luise Lenzen-Capone.