David Mason, a professor at the college of hotel and tourism management at Kyunghee University, was chosen as a goodwill ambassador for Baekdu-daegan, the Korea Forest Service announced Thursday.
Baekdu-daegan is the longest mountain range in Korea, running through most of the Korean Peninsula.
Mason is well known for many publications on Baekdu-daegan and other mountainous areas throughout the Korean Peninsula. He also helped publish the English-language Baekdu-daegan walking trail guide book with Seoul Selection, English portal for expats.
He has also served as a proofreader for the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.
David Mason (left) holds the plaque of appointment as the Baekdu-daegan goodwill ambassador with Forestry Minister Chung Kwang-soo in the Korea Forest Service in Daejeon last Wednesday. (Yonhap News)
Mason majored in Oriental philosophy at California State University, and acquired his master’s degree in Korean Studies at Yonsei University in 1997. Since then, as a Korean resident, he has been actively promoting Baekdu-daegan through his websites and tour programs for foreigners.
His career history includes work as a tourism and public relations consultant for the ministry; a publicity envoy for Mount Samgak on the Gangbuk-gu advisory commission; a director of the Royal Asiatic Society in Seoul; a member of the Research Association on Korean Shamanism; and a member of the Korean mountain preservation league since 2006.
In an appointment ceremony at the Korea Forest Service last Wednesday, he proposed six policies to promote Baekdu-daegan, which included designating a “Baekdu-daegan day” and cultural sites throughout the trail.
“The Baekdu-daegan is a graceful and marvelous place. The coexistence of diverse religions ― shamanism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism ― is what I find very attractive there,” he said.
“We will seek cooperation from the relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Korea Tourism Organization and National Parks in getting the Baekdu-daegan recognized as an attraction for religious pilgrimages as well as a natural preserve”
“We expect Prof. Mason, who’s devoted to the Korean culture, to play a leading role in sharing cultural values of Korean mountains with the foreign community,” Lee Mira, a forest service official in the recreation and outdoor activities division, said.