Our Education department aims to facilitate the development and exchanges of educational (formal and non-formal) policies and practices in ASEM countries for the benefit of the next generation of leaders.
(1) Create and foster sustainable networks between and among policy and decision-makers and civil society representatives to:
- enable the active participation of young people in society and to promote the values of citizenship
- facilitate the dialogue between the formal and/or non-formal educational stakeholders.
(2) Provide capacity-building opportunities for actors of civil society, with a particular focus on young people and educational agents,
in order to:
- support the exchange of knowledge and experiences on subjects of common interest through dialogue and collaborative learning
- empower participants to actively engage in the decision-making processes of issues affecting them.
(3) Contribute to the development and enhancement of ASEM policies by submitting timely recommendations and proactive
feedback from formal and non-formal education stakeholders.
Our programmes include:
(1) Formal Education
- ASEF Higher Education Programme (AHEP): A programme that facilitates and promotes co-operation among higher education stakeholders in Asia and Europe.
- ASEF Higher Education Programme (AHEP) Advisory Committee: An observatory and guiding body for the initiatives of the AHEP. It is composed of major higher education organisations and networks as well as individuals with proven interest, expertise and experience from ASEM countries.
- ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students' Forum (ARC): A biennial dialogue that brings together university leaders, students, higher education experts and other relevant stakeholders from ASEM countries to discuss topical higher education policy issues between the two regions.
- ASEF Education Workshops: A venue for focused discussions on the changing context that affects or influences the education sector.
- ASEM Education and Research Hub for Lifelong Learning (ASEM LLL Hub): A network of Asian and European universities engaged in comparative studies and joint researches on lifelong learning. They provide evidence-based policy recommendations for educational reforms in ASEM countries.
- Database on Education Exchange Programmes (DEEP): A comprehensive online portal on universities, student exchanges and scholarships in Asia and Europe that aims to promote better awareness of the study opportunities among students and encourage mobility of ASEM’s academic community.
- ASEF Classroom Network (ASEF ClassNet): A programme that connects secondary and high school educators and students in ASEM countries.
(2) Non-Formal Education
- ASEF University (AU): A 2-week programme that promotes academic discourse and intercultural exchanges among outstanding university students and young professionals from Asia and Europe.
- ASEF University Alumni Network (ASEFUAN): A grouping of young leaders who share a strong interest in the promotion of inter-cultural relations between Asia and Europe.
- Asia-Europe Co-operation in Voluntary Service (VolunAEt): A programme that promotes active participation of young volunteers in Asian and European societies.
- Ms Leonie Karen NAGARAJANChief of Staff to the Executive Director/Acting Director, Education Department
- Ms Angie TOHProject Manager
- Ms Natalie HONGProject Manager
- Ms Nathalie SAJDAProject Executive
- Ms Maneeha CHOWDHURYProject Officer
- Mr Marcel BANDURProject Officer
Ms Leonie Karen NAGARAJANChief of Staff to the Executive Director/Acting Director, Education Department
Leonie Nagarajan joined ASEF in 2006 as a team member in the Public Affairs Department to manage ASEF's journalists projects and website developments. During this period, she was also the Editorial Assistant for the Asia Europe Journal (AEJ), a peer-reviewed academic journal initiated by ASEF and now published by Springer.
In 2009, she moved to the Executive Office as Chief of Staff to advise and support the Executive Director in the planning and implementation of ASEF’s long-range strategy. She has since supported three Executive Directors (Ambassador Dominique Girard, France; Ambassador Michel Filhol, France and Ambassador Zhang Yan, China).
Since February 2014, Leonie has also taken on the role of Acting Director, Education Department.
Prior to joining ASEF, Leonie worked in the communication and press department of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures), Germany's leading centre for contemporary arts and discourse based in Berlin. She was a freelancer for the newspaper Berliner Zeitung, after getting first journalist experiences as a student at the daily paper Pretoria News (South Africa) and the Icelandic national broadcaster Ríkisútvarpið (RÚV). Leonie is a founding member of the NGO AfricAvenir International. The Douala/Berlin-based organisation engages in political education and information dissemination in both Africa and Europe. Having studied in Reykjavik, Iceland and Berlin, Germany, she received her Master's degree in Communication Sciences with minors in cultural and political sciences from the Free University and Humboldt University of Berlin.
Ms Angie TOHProject Manager
Angie Toh joined ASEF in February 1998 and reports directly to the Director/Deputy Director in the Education Department. She is the Programme Manager for ASEF Classroom Network (ASEF ClassNet) programme (formerly known as the Asia-Europe Classroom Network). ASEF ClassNet provides opportunities for collaborative learning and intercultural exchanges among secondary and high school educators and students in Asia and Europe. She also provides administrative and secretariat support to the Director/Deputy Director. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked in the marketing department of an USA company based in Singapore dealing with overseas infrastructure projects.
Ms Natalie HONGProject Manager
Natalie Hong, a Chinese national, joined the Education Department as Project Manager in June 2014. She is in charge of the ASEF Higher Education Programme (AHEP), currently including the AHEP Advisory Committee, the ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC), ASEF Education Workshops, and the ASEM Education and Research Hub for Lifelong Learning (ASEM LLL Hub). She also manages projects organised within the framework of ASEF University Alumni Network (ASEFUAN).
Prior to joining ASEF, Natalie held a research position at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU). She has also worked for Xinhua News Agency, China’s largest media organisation, first as a journalist, reporting and editing news in Chinese and Russian, and later as a Liaison Officer, mainly responsible for external relations and partnerships.
Thanks to various scholarships, particularly the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship awarded by the European Commission, Natalie’s educational background has spanned across Asia and Europe. With a Bachelor in Russian Language and Literature received from Beijing Foreign Studies University, China, she obtained her first Masters (M.Sc. in International Relations) from NTU, Singapore, and second Masters (M.A .in Economy, State, and Society) from University College London, the United Kingdom, and Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary. She also pursued Doctoral studies in Political Science, with a special focus on EU-China relations, at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and the Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.
Ms Nathalie SAJDAProject Executive
Nathalie Sajda, a Swedish national, joined ASEF’s Education Department in June 2014. Nathalie is responsible for the non-formal education projects, including ASEF University (AU), Model Asia-Europe Meeting (Model ASEM) and ASEF University Alumni Network (ASEFUAN).
Prior to joining ASEF, Nathalie worked toward the development of social enterprises and social entrepreneurship in Asia and Europe. Her experience in the social enterprise sector is eclectic and ranges from working on intercultural programmes for young social entrepreneurs to marketing of educational tools for impaired children. Nathalie also worked for a technology social enterprise in Thailand, where her role as international project manager included the development of gamification, hack-a-thon’s and marketing on issues related to flood preparedness, innovative public health and big data.
Nathalie obtained her first Bachelor's degree at Sodertorn University in International Development and Co-operation, followed by a second Bachelor's degree in International Relations from Stockholm University. She received a full scholarship to pursue her Master's degree in New Politics and Future Governance at Kyung Hee University in South Korea, where her dissertation investigated social accountability and social impact assessments among Thai social enterprises.
A good day according to Nathalie begins with an online-lecture on philosophy, politics or design and ends in the company of friends while enjoying international cuisine.
Ms Maneeha CHOWDHURYProject Officer
Ms Maneeha Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi national, first joined ASEF as an intern at the Executive Office in July 2013.
She rejoined as an intern at the Education Department in June 2014 and now fulfills the position of Project Officer in the same department following the completion of her Bachelors degree in Economics from Singapore Management University. Maneeha works on projects in the field of non-formal education, such as ASEF University and the Model Asia-Europe Meeting (Model ASEM).
Prior to joining ASEF, Maneeha interned at various organisations in Asia such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Bangkok; Grameen Bank, Dhaka; and AXA University Asia Pacific Campus, Singapore. She was also exposed to various SMEs in Europe while she was on exchange at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland in 2012. Furthermore, she volunteered in several NGOS in both Bangladesh and Singapore, and hopes to continue helping the community through youth empowerment and human rights projects.
Mr Marcel BANDURProject Officer
Marcel Bandur, a Slovak national, joined the Education Department as a Project Officer in August 2014. He works on projects in the field of formal education and supports the activities under ASEF’s Higher Education Programme (AHEP), which include, amongst others the ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum (ARC) and the ASEF Education Workshops.
Prior to joining ASEF, Marcel worked in several NGOs in Bratislava, Warsaw and Yerevan, where his job focused primarily on minority rights, gender equality, and poverty alleviation. In Singapore, he worked part-time for the Research Division at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), National University of Singapore (NUS) and interned at the EU Centre.
Marcel received his BA (Hons) degree in International Relations at the University of Durham, United Kingdom. Currently, he is pending the conferral of his MSSc research degree in Political Science from the National University of Singapore.