Our Public Affairs department organises activities to help the general public understand what happens within ASEF and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) process. We also highlight key issues of interest to Asia and Europe.
Foster greater understanding on the work of ASEF and ASEM among the media and the general public.
- Media Activities: We promote Asia-Europe networks and cooperation among mass media, and communicate initiatives by ASEF and ASEM. We also implement communication strategies for ASEF projects and events.
- Asia-Europe Editors’ Roundtable: Meetings between senior editors from Asia and Europe at the sidelines of ASEM Summits.
- Asia-Europe Journalists’ Seminar: A platform for senior journalists to exchange views and perspectives on issues of common interest.
- ASEF Journalists’ Colloquium: Meetings between young journalists to learn from each other's experience in reporting current issues.
- Management and Dissemination of Information: We make information on Asia-Europe relations easily accessible to the general public.
- ASEM InfoBoard: the official website for the ASEM process also highlights issues on Asia-Europe relations.
- External Communications: We increase ASEF visibility by organising public events. We also manage the ASEF website, ASEF eNewsletter, ASEF Annual Report and other information and publicity materials.
- Mr Paul KOHDirector
- Mr Rafael SECADESDeputy Director
- Ms Debasmita DASGUPTAPress Manager
- Ms Theresa Ann CUACommunications Executive
- Ms Maria Elena De MatteoCommunications Executive
Mr Paul KOHDirector
Paul Koh is ASEF’s Director of Public Affairs.
Prior to his appointment, Paul was Director/Special Duties (Energy) at the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during which he led an inter-agency team responsible for energy security issues. He was also a member of the Energy Policy Group.
Paul was previously the Director/International Economics at the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Since joining MFA, Paul has served as either Deputy Chief of Mission or as Counsellor at our Diplomatic Missions in Moscow, London, and Manila.
Paul obtained a Law (Hons) degree from the National University of Singapore. While on a MFA scholarship from 1996-1997, Paul also attained a Masters degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in Washington D.C., where he was also awarded the Dean’s Citation, as well as a Citation for Special Contributions.
From 1998-1999, Paul served as Special Assistant to then Singapore Foreign Minister, Prof S Jayakumar.
Mr Rafael SECADESDeputy Director
Rafael Secades Riestra, a Spanish national, joined ASEF in September 2010 as Project Manager, Public Affairs. He deputises for the ASEF Director of Public Affairs in the management of the department.
Prior to his appointment at ASEF, he worked in the private sector in Spain. His responsibilities as Commercial Director of INGENIAqed, a major industry player in Spain’s culture sector, included managing international projects such as the Future Pavillion, one of the largest pavillions at the Shanghai Expo 2010.
In Spain, Rafael's life was linked to the development of the Internet. He has witnessed first-hand, since 1994, the evolution of the Internet into what we know of it today. From 2001 to 2004, he was manager, Association of Friends of the Internet, where he was responsible for the launch and management of Cibercentro La Lila, one of the earliest Community Technology Center in Europe linking IT and culture. He also worked as technology consultant in Babylon, the first data sharing between the botanical gardens of Spain and Portugal, and Permeso, the production and distribution of eBooks of the Classics. He was a director, producer and presenter, spending four years in television and two years in radio broadcasting, covering the Internet and IT related topics.
Rafael graduated with a Bachelor in Business Administration. He also holds a Masters degree in International Business (Chinese culture, language and negotiation) and a diploma as an expert in SME internationalization from the Escuela de Organizacion Industria (EOI). His passion for Asia was what made him join ASEF.
Ms Debasmita DASGUPTAPress Manager
Ms Debasmita DASGUPTA (aka Smita) has been working in the field of development communications for last 8 years. She is specialised in handling international media relations and implementing social communications campaigns including the 1 Billion Hungry Campaign for UN-FAO India. She has worked extensively in India, South-East Asia and in parts of Europe.
Smita joined ASEF in October 2010 and currently she is the Press Manager for the Foundation. Prior to her appointment in ASEF, she was managing communication projects for various international non-profit organisations in India including Oxfam, UN-FAO and International Council on Security and Development (ICOS). She has dealt with issues such as climate change, global food security, public health, human trafficking and HIV/AIDS.
Experienced in conceptualising and implementing multi-media initiatives for social development, she enjoys photography, creative writing and experimenting with her illustrations. Her first graphic novel for children was published in 2011 by Katha, one of the most reputed children book publishers in India.
Ms Theresa Ann CUACommunications Executive
Theresa Ann Cua joined ASEF in December 2009 as a Project Officer for the Public Affairs Department. She is currently the Administrator of the ASEM InfoBoard, the official official information platform of the Asia-Europe Meeting. She has also been in charge of developing several media-realted projects for the Public Affairs team, on top of providing communications support for the various projects at ASEF.
She has always wanted to work in an international, non-profit environment. Prior to her appointment at the ASEF, Theresa worked at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Manila Office. She was in charge of communications, conference management, and handling the office's local government, political parties, and Mindanao peace process portfolio.
Theresa graduated cum Laude and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in European Studies, majoring in International Relations, from the Ateneo de Manila University. She also holds a minor degree in French studies. She speaks, with varying degrees of fluency, English, Filipino, German, Mandarin, and Hokkien, with a smattering of Japanese and Italian.
Ms Maria Elena De MatteoCommunications Executive