Barbara Karuth-Zelle was born and grew up in Munich. She spent large parts of her childhood and youth at a farm in Austria where she learned early on how important sustainable, resource-light food production is for the regeneration and maintenance of our environment. Over time she became more fascinated by the oceans as the source of life and initially wanted to become a marine biologist. An idea that did not find much support from her parents. So instead she studied economics – which became the foundation for a long and successful career at Allianz. However, her love of the oceans remained. As a passionate diver, she has often seen the pollution, over-fishing and destruction of ecosystems under water with her own eyes. Privately and professionally, therefore, she has actively worked for the protection of our oceans. In her role as a member of the board of management and Chief Operating Officer of Allianz, in addition to other activities she initiated a partnership with Sea Shepherd, an international organization that protects the seas. Allianz sponsors the ship “Sea Eagle” which supports the organization in fighting illegal fishing and plastic waste in the Mediterranean.
The Munich Speech® is an exclusive, international, non-profit series of events, to discuss cutting-edge art- and culture-topics in a private surrounding. The name Munich Speech® derives from the celebrated series „Speeking about your own country: Germany“ at the Kammerspiele Munich in 1985 with Joseph Beuys.
Produced and presented since 2014 by Dietlinde Behncke (cultural manager and journalist, formerly at ZDF headquarter Berlin), the focus lies on outstanding positions/ personalities, who change, take action for or develop visions for Munich or change an institution in the world from Munich and who receive direct and immediate attention through the Munich Speech®.
The events took place three to four times a year until 2023 in André and Dietlinde Behncke's private apartment. The events have are currently taking place at gallery ludwig space, since it was founded on January 31, 2023. Due to the corona pandemic, there were also Munich Speech® digital live streams in 2020-2022.
Previous guests in 2017 included Dr. Roger Diederen (Director Kunsthalle Munich) with the FAUST-FESTIVAL MUNICH, 2018 Dr. Angelika Nollert (Director Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum in the Pinakothek der Moderne), 2019 Alexander Liebreich (Conductor and artistic director Richard-Strauss-Festival Garmisch-Partenkirchen), 2022 Dr. Eva Kraus (Director Bundeskunsthalle Bonn) "No future without transformation?" or Andrea Lissoni (in 2021 and 2022 - Artistic Director Haus der Kunst) and Sarah Haugeneder (Boardmember Various Others) about VARIOUS OTHERS in its 5th year or Prof. Bernhard Maaz (Director General of the Bavarian State Painting Collections) on the subject of "Art deals with the essence of life".