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FAQs

ASEF is an intergovernmental not-for-profit organisation that was created to strengthen Asia-Europe relations through its various projects spanning 7 key thematic areas of work. Founded in 1997 by the partner countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) – an informal, political dialogue process comprising of over 50 countries in Asia and Europe – ASEF remains to this day the only established institution of ASEM. Although based in Singapore, ASEF operates in all ASEM countries. ASEF is funded by voluntary contribution by all ASEM partners. Most of ASEF projects are also supported financially by civil society organisations, public institutions and businesses that ASEF works with. For more information, please read about our history and what we do.
ASEM is an informal dialogue process among governments currently representing 51 Asian and European countries, plus the ASEAN Secretariat and the European Union. It aims to forge stronger relations between Asia and Europe, based on equal partnership, mutual respect and mutual benefits. Its activities are grouped into 3 pillars:
  • political;
  • economic; and,
  • socio-cultural
The inaugural meeting of ASEM leaders was in March 1996 in Bangkok, Thailand. 1 year later, ASEF was born. Read more about ASEM and the history of ASEF.

Since its inception, ASEM has gone through several stages of enlargement. Currently the 53 ASEM partners are: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Lao PDR, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, Viet Nam, the ASEAN Secretariat and the European Union.

Check out the ASEM Infoboard Website

ASEF activities cover the following areas:

The activities under these thematic areas closely align to ASEM priorities. Read more about what we do.

The Board of Governors is ASEF’s decision-making body and represents the respective ASEM partners. The Governors are nominated by partner governments for a renewable period of 3 years. The Board meets thrice in a 2-year cycle and sets out the policy directions of ASEF.

ASEF is headed by the Executive Director and the Deputy Executive Director, who take management decisions based on directions and policy guidelines set out by ASEM governments and the ASEF Board of Governors. They are supported by the Executive Office. ASEF also has 4 programme departments which are supported by the Finance & Administration, Human Resources, and Communications Departments. ASEF’s programme departments are:

ASEF projects are generally co-organised with institutions from Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) partner countries. ASEF shares the cost of each project with the co-organiser(s). 

Co-organisers and sponsors include:

  • parliaments
  • government agencies
  • think tanks
  • educational institutions
  • student and youth organisations
  • cultural and heritage promotion organisations (e.g. museums, arts festivals etc)
  • businesses
  • NGOs
  • trade unions and
  • other relevant civil society organisations

If you wish to organise a project in partnership with ASEF, please let us know at info@asef.org.

Participation in projects carried out by ASEF is open to nationals from ASEM countries. Exceptions can be made, where a non-ASEM national may be critical for a project’s success. As different projects may have different requirements, please go to the relevant project web page on our website or contact the respective department for further information. All calls for applications are available on ASEF’s website.

ASEM country nationals can apply for job and internship opportunities. Calls for job vacancies and internships are posted on our Work for Us page.

The ASEF logo is a pictorial representation of the letters “A” for Asia and “E” for Europe in a multi-coloured continuous strand of a twisted ribbon. The form of the letters also hints at the meeting of 2 continents. The colours reflects embracing diversity, bridging peoples, & shaping partnerships – our work over the past 2 decades, and for many more years to come.

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