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Photo of Mark Rowswell with students.
hoto by James Poremba

Our Man in Beijing

Cultures meet at Sid Smith Hall

Mark Rowswell (BA 1988 UC), who’s famous to hundreds of millions of television viewers in China for his 20-plus-year career there as a performer and TV host, recently gave a talk at Sidney Smith Hall, hosted by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. “Dashan” (or “Big Mountain”), as he is known in his adopted home, spoke to the group – in Mandarin – about his personal journey from Ottawa to Toronto to Beijing and his insights into Chinese-Western relations.

Rowswell, who says he is a foreigner in China “but not an outsider,” is passionate about improving the dialogue between east and west. “The worst thing,” he says, “is not to have a problem communicating, but to have a problem and not realize it.” After his speech, Rowswell greeted and took pictures with students and fans. “Everything he said came from his heart,” says Kyle Xu, a first-year UTSC student. “He was funny, impactful and very inspiring.”

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