Our Public Affairs department organises activities to help the general public understand what happens within the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). We also highlight key issues of interest to Asia and Europe.
Generate more awareness about the work of ASEF 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.
- 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 RENGARAJU Raj Kumar Director
- Mr Rafael SECADESDeputy Director
- Ms Debasmita DASGUPTAPress Manager
- Ms Theresa Ann CUACommunications Executive
- Ms Maria Elena De MatteoCommunications Executive
- Ms Plamena SLAVCHEVA Communications Officer
- Ms SUN CongIntern
Mr RENGARAJU Raj KumarDirector
Mr RENGARAJU Raj Kumar is the Director of Public Affairs for the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF). He took up this post in July 2014.
After graduating from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Science degree (Honours) in Sociology, Raj Kumar joined the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1986. He has served numerous stints in the Ministry’s Headquarters as well as overseas postings.
He was deployed twice to the Southeast Asia Directorate (1986-1987 and 1991-1993) and as the Deputy Director in the ASEAN Directorate (1996-1999). Raj Kumar was First Secretary in the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Subsequently, he was appointed First Secretary and then Counsellor in the Singapore Embassy in Manila, in the Philippines.
He helped establish two of Singapore’s overseas Missions. In 2000, the Singapore Consulate-General in San Francisco, USA was opened and he was appointed as its first Consul-General. He also helped open the Singapore Consulate in Batam, Indonesia in 2009 and was appointed as its first Consul. Raj Kumar has also served as the Acting High Commissioner and Counsellor at the Singapore High Commission in Pretoria. Later, he became the Consul in the Singapore Consulate in in Pekanbaru, Indonesia. Upon his return to Ministry Headquarters in August 2013 he was appointed Deputy Chief of Protocol/Policy, Privileges and Immunities.
Raj Kumar is married to Ms Yogini YOGARAJAH and they have a son.
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 Communications Executive and 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-related 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
Ms Plamena SLAVCHEVACommunications Officer
Plamena SLAVCHEVA joined ASEF in May 2014. Prior to her appointment at ASEF, she was in charge of diverse communication projects at various international organisations, including the European Commission and the European Network of Independent Cultural Centres “Trans Europe Halles”. Plamena brings extensive working experience from different parts of Europe such as Bulgaria, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.
She also worked as a reporter for numerous international editorial projects in Ljubljana, London and Zagreb. Plamena is particularly interested in raising transcultural awareness via the arts, media and education. She was invited to present her research work at the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Network on Cultural Management and Cultural Policy Education (ENCATC) at Goldsmiths University of London.
She graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Advertising and Public Relations. She then obtained a joint Master of Arts Degree in Euroculture from the University of Deusto, Spain and the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
Ms SUN CongIntern
SUN Cong, a Chinese national, joined ASEF’s Public affair department in November 2014 as an intern. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from China. Currently she is pursuing her master’s in International Political Economy at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
She has strong passion to work in media-related fields. Prior to her assignment with ASEF, she was a PR intern with Xinhua News Agency in China, intern editor with China Central Television, and an intern journalist at Inner Mongolia Television. She was also the program manager of China First Future Energy Forum when she interned with Xinhua News Agency. She also volunteered as a teacher in Guizhou province, China for several months.
Cong likes to play the piano and Gu’zheng. She also enjoys traveling and vocal music. With different levels of fluency, Cong speaks English, Chinese and Mongolian.