Alumni of Chi­nese study pro­grams called ‘Good­will am­bas­sadors’ by con­sul

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By NA LI in Toronto

“Although the high tech­nol­ogy of com­mu­ni­ca­tion has de­vel­oped so fast, still there are com­mu­ni­ca­tion bar­ri­ers ex­ist­ing be­tween our coun­tries. By com­par­i­son, the peo­ple-topeo­ple ex­change seems much more ef­fec­tive for un­der­stand­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” said Mark Rowswell, mem­ber of the Board of Gover­nors of the Univer­sity of Toronto, at the res­i­dence of Chi­nese Con­sul Gen­eral in Toronto.

Be­ing a Cana­dian co­me­dian while sel­dom un­known in his own coun­try, Mark has an enor­mous fol­low­ing on the China main­land, where he is known as Dashan. As one of only a hand­ful of Cana­dian stu­dents who ever stud­ied at Pek­ing Univer­sity in China, Mark’s feel­ings and com­ments evoked the sym­pa­thies of many oth­ers.

The oc­ca­sion was a re­union hosted by the Chi­nese Con­sul Gen­eral in Toronto Xue Bing and Mrs Xue on Sept 12. Dozens of Cana­dian alumni from Chi­nese stud­ies and stu­dents of the Jiangsu-On­tario Stu­dent Mo­bil­ity Pro­gram joined the party with guests from Cana­dian academies.

Chris­tine Keene, pres­i­dent of Keene In­no­va­tions Con­sult­ing, took part in the OJS pro­gram from OCAD Univer­sity. She ap­plied her the­sis re­search in part­ner­ship with Jiangsu Univer­sity, at CE­CEP So­lar Energy Tech­nol­ogy Com­pany in Zhen­jiang; and par­tic­i­pated in the Jiang­nan Univer­sity sum­mer de­sign pro­gram in Wuxi. She and stu­dents from China, Bel­gium and Canada were brought to­gether to ap­ply de­sign pro­cesses and tech­niques to a lo­cal chal­lenge. In ad­di­tion, she ex­plored China with her fam­ily.

“I was thrilled to have the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore in­no­va­tion within a cut­ting-edge or­ga­ni­za­tion in China,” said Keene. “Some of the best parts of the whole ex­pe­ri­ence was the im­mer­sion into the Chi­nese cul­ture, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the di­ver­sity the coun­try has to of­fer and de­vel­op­ing won­der­ful new friend­ships.”

Another OJS stu­dent, Es­ther Eliv­ert from Univer­sity of Ot­tawa said, “Although it was short, my trip to China had a great im­pact on me. I miss the walks, the food and peo­ple. The China I saw sur­passed my ex­pec­ta­tions. It was warm, hum­ble, lively yet peace­ful. I can hon­estly say that I spent the month with kind, pas­sion­ate, smart and gen­er­ous peo­ple I will miss.”

“I am struck by their feel­ings for a re­la­tion­ship that has so mir­rored mine in speak­ing with the Cana­dian stu­dents over the years, and read­ing the re­ports of their ex­pe­ri­ences in China,” said David Wood, OJS aca­demic di­rec­tor and win­ner of a Jiangsu Friend­ship Award in recog­ni­tion of his con­tri­bu­tions.

NA LI / CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese Con­sul Gen­eral in Toronto Xue Bing (cen­tre in red tie) is joined by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Cana­dian alumni of stud­ies in China to gather at his res­i­dence in Toronto on Sept 12.

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