It was such a glorious spring day. When the Post met Prof. Rii Hae-un in her office, she had just ended a meeting. Though it was very busy time, she welcomed the Post.
Prof. Rii Hae-un is Dean of College of Education. She has given geography lectures in Dongguk University (DU) since 1984. On April 25, she was appointed as a committee member by the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea (CHA). For this and other reasons, the Post met her and listened to her work and school life.
The Post : What do you do in the Cultural Properties Committee (CPC)?
Prof. Rii Hae-un (Rii) : Now, four DU professors are on the CPC as cultural committee members. In general, the members discuss issues related to management of cultural heritage. I belong to the Korean wing of World Heritage so I will manage our eight world cultural masterpieces, and determine which ones should be registered by World Heritage, and monitor other prospective artifacts for future consideration. If our treasures are not managed well, they could lose their status. Actually, one of Oman’s World Heritage sites was excluded in 2007.
The Post : In 2005, you were elected as a member of the executive committee in the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). What is ICOMOS? And what do you do on it?
Rii : First, ICOMOS is an association of professionals throughout the world that currently has over 9000 members from 135 countries. ICOMOS works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places. It is the only global non-government organization of this kind, and is dedicated to promote the application of theory, methodology, and scientific techniques to the conservation of architectural and archaeological heritage. With gratitude, I was first elected as an executive member in 2005 and was reelected in 2008. ICOMOS is also a consultative organization of World Heritage Commission. Its role is very important since over 90percent of ICOMOS’s evaluations can be reflected by UNESCO.
The Post : You are a Dean of the College of Education. How will your experiences outside DU affect the college of education?
Rii : I have participated in a project for sustainable education and World Heritage education for three years. I have had many experiences out of school. I teach geography to students at DU, so my pictures taken in foreign countries are useful for my students. A few years ago I visited Pyeong yang in North Korea, and after I came back to Korea I showed my pictures to my class. After the semester, students evaluated my lecture. In the evaluation, they said “It was a good lecture,” I think it was because they could see the many places I visited.
The Post : In Korea, there are many cultural treasures. How can students take interest in these?
Rii : Many Korean people are interested in cultural heritage, but I think they don’t understand them correctly. One day, I visited the Changdeokgung with a foreign friend. I saw someone explain the Sungjungjun which was an office of a king. However, his explanation was completely wrong. After that, I heard he was a volunteer. Of course, volunteering itself is nice but if volunteers have professional information, it can be more useful. Therefore, both education and understanding should be well combined.
The Post : As a college dean, what kinds of virtues are needed to be a teacher?
Rii : First of all, a person who will be a teacher must draw a line between public and private matters. As a teacher, he or she has to give fair grade to all the students even though the teacher likes a student more than other students. Second, the teacher has to love students. If a teacher does not love students, he or she can act improperly. Third, the teacher needs to learn and keep up with current research. I think students who major in education should be different from other students. Because, when they graduate from DU and go to school as a teacher, they will obviously teach their students how to behave with responsibility.
In the mid of the interview with her, she said that she used to say “Take a bus!” to her class. Using the subway is convenient and speedy. However, you can see nothing but the people in front of you and dark tunnel. She said that if people take a bus, they can see, smell, feel, and enjoy our living society. Taking a bus can expand your social, economic, and cultural perspectives.
After interviewing her, the Post felt revitalized because she was energetic and bright. This year, DU will be able to expect our college of education to achieve great things.
By Kim Tae-hyang, Post Reporter
Kim Tae-hyang, Post Reporter email@example.com
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