The Turkish Ambassador to South Korea, Durmuş Ersin Erçin, visited KIS Seoul campus to celebrate Turkish Children’s Day and the strong relationship between the two countries. Ambassador Ersin Erçin was warmly welcomed by principal Jennifer Le Varge and school director Michelle Quirin and the the event opened with both Pangyo and Seoul elementary student choirs singing songs. Pangyo students sang “Tama Tu” and “Kusimama” to represent an international message of friendship, and Seoul students honored the countries’ cultures by singing “Bir Dünya Bırakın” and “Children’s Day Song.”
Ambassador Ersin Erçin addressed the gathering, giving a brief history of Children’s Day before turning to the generations present in the room. He spoke of the responsibility of elders to children who are the future of this world, and encouraged children to contribute well and cherish what they are given. Ambassador Ersin Erçin concluded with a poem from Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk:
“Little ladies, little gentlemen, You are all the roses, the stars and the sparkling joy of our future, the ones who will elevate the nation. Always be aware of your value and significance! And work hard… We have great expectations for you.”
For the past two years, the Turkish Embassy has invited KIS students to create artwork illustrating the connection between Turkey and South Korea. This year the theme was “Rich Past and New Beginnings.” Ninety elementary and secondary students submitted artwork for the contest, working with a variety of media including paint, pen and ink, pencil, oil crayon, paper sculpture and clay. Christine is a grade ten student who applied the spirit of “new beginnings” to her art, working with hanji paper for the first time to make a small sculpture of children in a lotus flower. Jayden is a grade three Seoul campus student whose art – a handshake – reminds him of Turkey helping South Korea during the Korean war. Also from Seoul campus, Ghala, a fourth grade student, glued and painted plastic spoons to make a lotus flower, saying, “Turkey and South Korea are friends. I hope the two countries enjoy peace.”
Art contest winners and runners up, and their families, enjoyed a lunch hosted at Seoul campus, and winners received the additional prizes of an airline ticket to Turkey, courtesy of Turkish Airways, and an invitation to a reception at the Turkish Embassy. Each year KIS students enjoy the challenge of creating art from two cultures, and welcoming the Turkish Ambassador to their campus to celebrate Children’s Day.
Thank you Karen Jung (Seoul campus art teacher) for encouraging participation in the art contest, and talking with students about their process. Thank you Emily Grove (Seoul campus music teacher), Lindsey Cayer and David Woods (Pangyo campus music teachers) for the guidance you give our singers. Thank you Seoul campus for hosting such a lovely event, and the Turkish embassy for making a connection between our two cultures. What a lovely day!
Video by Kal Cho (Seoul campus technology teacher), edited by Scott Smith, Principal of Storytelling. Photos and article by Sarah Marslender.