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  • Writer's pictureYunus Emre Institute

Embassy Adoption Day at Barnard Elementary

On January 14th, 2020, Yunus Emre Institute Washington, D.C. visited Ms. Rutherford’s 5th grade class at Barnard Elementary School. The institute taught the students about Turkish history, language, and culture in partnership with the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C. This visit was facilitated by the DC Public School system’s Embassy Adoption Program.

The Embassy Adoption Program allows fifth and sixth grade classrooms around Washington to learn about foreign cultures by meeting with embassy representatives from around the world. Each class is partnered with an embassy for one academic year. Over the course of the year the students will have lessons about that country and will meet with the embassy staff three times. At the end of the school year, the students will participate in a Model UN session representing their partner country and will prepare a capstone presentation to show their teachers what they learned.

Ms. Rutherford’s class partnered with the Turkish Embassy this year. The Yunus Emre Institute was fortunate that the Turkish Embassy chose the institute to teach the students about Turkish culture. Public Relations Director Casey Kim made introductions and helped with questions while Public Relations Assistants Matt Holbrook and Harper Clark taught the students a brief overview of the history, civics, language, food, animals, and music of Turkey. Ms. Rutherford did a great job introducing her students to Turkey, so her students asked very good questions and were eager to learn more. The students had the opportunity to practice Turkish greetings, the Turkish alphabet, and sample lokum, Turkish delight, during the visit. They were also able to watch a video about Turkish schools and listen to clips of Turkish music.

The students were excited to practice Turkish language and greeting customs. They had no problem learning letters like ğ or ö that do not exist in English. They also really liked the Turkish music that the institute selected and asked for the songs to get played on repeat. The class was surprised to learn how similar Turkish children are to them despite living so far away. The students were happy with the Turkey stickers, passport cards, and lokum they received to commemorate the visit. It is safe to say they look forward to next month’s visit!

The Yunus Emre Foundation is a public foundation designed to educate the public about Turkey and its language, history, culture, and art. The Foundation makes such related information and documents available for use in the world. Facilitating cultural exchange between Turkey and other countries is a central objective of the Foundation. If you are interested in receiving more information, please email

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