By Safvan Allahverdi
WASHINGTON (AA) – Young men taking part in the American Legion’s Boys State program visited the Yunus Emre Institute (YEE) in the U.S. capital Friday to learn more about Turkey.
During their visit to the Turkish cultural diplomacy organization, the students were informed about Turkey, its culture, heritage and civilization as well as the roles of the U.S. and Turkish governments in strengthening bilateral relations.
The institute’s public relations director, Casey Kim, welcomed the participants and also briefed them on the institute in a presentation.
During the session, the students learned about the history of Turkey’s alphabet and political relations with the U.S.
"The experience was great because I really did not know about Turkey and its culture. After coming here, I can say that now I know much more about Turkey," said Christian Robles, one of the students from the Boys State program.
“Turkey is an important ally for the U.S. with its beauty, traditional food and kindness of its people."
The interactive session concluded with a lunch featuring Turkish cuisine such as Doner Kebab, shish (skewer) kofte and vegetarian sandwiches served with sweet baklava.
As one of the most respected educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students, Boys State is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary and the American Legion — the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization.
Under the Boys State program, participants learn about the rights, privileges and workings of local, county and state government. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs.
Named after a 13th century Turkish poet, the YEE aims to promote Turkey through public and cultural diplomacy activities.
The main goal of the institution is to build bonds of friendship between Turkey and other countries in order to increase cultural exchange.
With 54 offices abroad, the institute currently operates in 43 countries.