Mark Rowswell

Biography

Dashan aka Mark Rowswell has been called ‘the most famous foreigner in China’, where he has worked as a media personality and cultural ambassador for over 25 years. Born and raised in Canada, he began studying Chinese in the mid-1980s, first at the University of Toronto and later at Peking University. While in Beijing, he became interested in xiangsheng, a revered form of traditional comedic dialogue in China, and was soon appearing on national television under the stage name ‘Dashan’. Repeated performances to hundreds of millions of television viewers turned him into a household name across China. Over time, he came to be seen as a cultural ambassador between China and the West and as a symbol of finding common ground between cultures. He served as Canada’s Team Attaché during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and as Canada’s Commissioner General for Expo 2010 in Shanghai.  In 2006 he was inducted into the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour, and in 2012 he was named Goodwill Ambassador to China by Canada’s Prime Minister.