Asia–Europe Foundation (ASEF)

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Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)
Logo
Headquarters  Singapore
Type Not-for-profit organization
Members 53 (see list)
Leaders
 •  Chair, Board of Governors India High Commissioner Vijay Thakur SINGH
 •  Vice-Chair, Board of Governors Finland Ms Eva BIAUDET
 •  Executive Director China Ambassador ZHANG Yan
 •  Deputy Executive Director Germany Ambassador Karsten WARNECKE
Establishment 1 February 1997
Website
www.ASEF.org

The Asia–Europe Foundation (ASEF) is an intergovernmental not-for-profit organization located in Singapore. Founded in 1997, it is the only institution of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). Its purpose is to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between the people of Asia and Europe through intellectual, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges.

Together with over 750 partner organisations ASEF has run about 700 projects in Asia and Europe, mainly conferences, seminars and workshops. More than 20,000 Asians and Europeans have actively participated in its activities and it reaches much wider audiences through its networks, web-portals, publications, exhibitions and lectures.[1]

History[edit]

In March 1996, the leaders of 25 Asian and European countries, together with the European Commission, met in Bangkok, Thailand, for the 1st Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit. At this inaugural meeting, they agreed on the establishment of the Asia–Europe Foundation (ASEF) in 1997 as a central institution of ASEM's social, cultural and educational pillar.[2] One of the main tasks of ASEF is to become an interface between civil society groups and governments by facilitating interactions among people from diverse fields and transmitting the resulting outputs as recommendations to policy-makers.[3]

By nature, ASEF is different from international organisations, as it works with both ASEM governments and civil society. It works on creating sustainable networks, injects civil society inputs into the ASEM process, and enhances ASEM visibility. This unique attribute allows ASEF's activities to generate ideas and solutions that would not normally emerge from purely inter-governmental or civil society processes.

To date, ASEF is the only permanently established institution of the ASEM process.

Thematic Areas[edit]

ASEF focuses in its work on the following 6 key thematic areas: culture, education, sustainable development, governance, economics, and public health.

Culture[edit]

ASEF promotes various forms of cultural cooperation between Asia and Europe including policy dialogue, bi-regional networks and artistic collaborations. It fosters sustainable partnerships between Asian and European arts organisations, while also facilitating dialogue between the arts sector and government agencies responsible for culture.

Economy[edit]

ASEF addresses both current economic issues and long-term trends impacting Asian and European societies in line with the Asia-Europe Meeting’s (ASEM) political agenda concerning the current international financial and economic situation across ASEM constituencies. Currently, ASEF’s work on economy focuses on the following priorities: post-crisis developments in Asia and Europe; the concept of sustainable growth; and the impact of migration policies on the socio-economic welfare of labour migrants.

Education[edit]

ASEF addresses both current economic issues and long-term trends impacting Asian and European societies in line with the Asia-Europe Meeting’s (ASEM) political agenda concerning the current international financial and economic situation across ASEM constituencies. Currently, ASEF’s work on economy focuses on the following priorities: post-crisis developments in Asia and Europe; the concept of sustainable growth; and the impact of migration policies on the socio-economic welfare of labour migrants.

Governance[edit]

Respect for human rights, rule of law, effective participation, and accountability of public institutions are some areas that lay the foundation for good governance. ASEF encourages informal, open and non-confrontational dialogue between government and civil society representatives in this field, through its current project series on human rights, public diplomacy, and democratisation and justice.

Public Health[edit]

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Initiative for the Rapid Containment of Pandemic Influenza was launched in 2009 by ASEM leaders to combat the Influenza A (H1N1) and possible human influenza pandemics. ASEF’s work in the area of Public Health is designed to achieve 2 objectives of the ASEM Initiative: to create a platform to address public health issues across Asia and Europe, and to build up a stockpile of anti-viral drugs and personal protective equipment.

Sustainable Development[edit]

Since its inception, ASEF has initiated several dialogue platforms on sustainable development and climate change issues in Asia and Europe. Reflecting priorities of the ASEM Process and needs from stakeholders at international, regional, and national levels, ASEF’s programmes in this field focus on contributing to the global debate on the post-2015 development agenda and climate change policy.

Members[edit]

ASEF's members are the 53 partners of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM): 30 European countries, 21 Asian countries, and 2 regional organisations (European Union and ASEAN Secretariat).

Funding[edit]

ASEF is funded by annual voluntary contributions from the 53 ASEM partners and shares the financing of its projects with its civil society and governmental partners across Asia and Europe.

Structure[edit]

ASEF reports to a Board of Governors whose members are appointed by the 53 ASEM partners and who meet twice a year. At its permanent office in Singapore, ASEF is composed of an Executive Office, a Finance & Administrative Department, a Public Affairs Department, and the following 3 program departments: a Culture Department, an Education Department, and a Political & Economic Department.[4]

Executive Directors[edit]

2012–2016 China Ambassador ZHANG Yan

2008–2012 France Ambassador Michel FILHOL

2008–2011 France Ambassador Dominique GIRARD

2004–2008 South Korea Ambassador Wonil CHO

2000–2004 Spain Ambassador Delfín COLOMÉ

1997–2000 Singapore Ambassador Tommy KOH

Deputy Executive Directors[edit]

2012–2016 Germany Ambassador Karsten WARNECKE

2008–2012 Vietnam Ambassador NGUYEN Quoc Khanh

2006–2008 France Mr Bertrand FORT

2004–2006 Germany Mr Hendrik KLONINGER

2000–2004 South Korea Mr KIM Sung-Chul

1997–2000 France Mr Pierre BARROUX

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Asia-Europe Foundation - What We Do
  2. ^ ASEM InfoBoard - About ASEM http://www.aseminfoboard.org/working-method.html
  3. ^ Asia-Europe Foundation - History http://www.asef.org/index.php/about/history
  4. ^ Asia-Europe Foundation - Organisation http://www.asef.org/index.php/about/organisation

External links[edit]