Technology, urbanisation and ceaseless travel have blurred the traditional boundaries of space and time. Meantime, ideas, trends and cultures interact and cross-pollinate like never before. In an increasingly interconnected world, Asia-Pacific and Europe are no longer separate entities. We live, work and play side-by-side in a shared space that is getting smaller as you read. The activities of ASEF and EUC aim to foster mutual understanding between both regions in a rapidly globalised world.

Did you know?

Our Activities

  • Perceiving Asia and Europe Perceptions matter. With this in mind, ASEF is proud to be at the heart of two pioneering  “perceptions” research projects – Asia in the Eyes of Europe, and the EU through the Eyes of Asia. These studies sought to understand how Asia and Europe perceive each other. In turn, the findings hope to inform policymakers from both regions on pressing issues for Asia-Europe engagement, as well as the knowledge gaps that can addressed.
  • Migration, Societal and Market Transformations - Perceptions, Debates & Policies in Asia and Europe The migration regimes of EU and ASEAN countries are complex affairs, and this conference addressed the various issues that may emerge as a result. Researchers, policy makers and activists gathered for a series of lectures and panel discussions on approaches towards immigration, the management of diverse cultures, and the ramifications of securitisation of migration.
  • Representations of Euro-Asian relations in 2010: South Korean newspapers report on ASEM and German newspapers on Asia Using media reports as an analytical platform, this paper sought to uncover how Europe and Asia see each other in the public sphere. Studies of South Korean and German newspapers in their coverage of two related events – the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the rise of China – showed that stereotypes can be both enhanced and superseded by judicious media reporting.

Perceiving Asia and Europe

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” — Aldous Huxley, English Author

The study of perceptions helps to improve understanding and this allows for better informed decision-making. With this in mind, ASEF and its partners conducted two separate studies - EU through the Eyes of Asia, and Asia in the Eyes of Europe – to understand how both Europe and Asia view each another, so as to provide a deeper understanding of the relationship for key policymakers.

Established in 2005, the EU through the Eyes of Asia study has been carried out in 12 locations across Asia. In 2011 ASEF, along with its long-standing partner, National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE) – University of Canterbury, complemented the findings by including ASEM’s newest members Australia, New Zealand and Russia in the study and revisiting 7 previous locations. The research offered unique insights into how the EU is perceived across Asia, as well as providing positive highlights and recommendations for areas of improvement. This enriching study is made even more invaluable today, given the global economic challenges currently impacting Asia-Europe relations.

Subsequently, a mirror study, Asia in the Eyes of Europe, was started in 2010 to track the perceptions of Asia in eight EU member countries. Conducted by ASEF with a consortium of partners, it is a comprehensive analysis of the image of Asia as viewed by European media and its citizens. The study presented the perceptions of Europeans towards a rising Asia, and highlighted the Asian countries perceived to be Europe’s most important partners. It also provided feedback on the key issues for cooperation amongst policymakers in the two regions.


Both studies used stringent methodologies to compile their findings. Three distinct methods were employed – a large scale Public Opinion Survey; daily Media Analysis lasting up to six months; and face-to-face Opinion Leader Interviews with subjects from commercial industries, civil society, media and political sectors. As a result, the research yielded comprehensive responses with multifaceted points of view. More than 60 researchers from Asia and Europe were enlisted to conduct the research.

Did you know?

  • 10,000 Asian respondents were asked to choose from a list of positive and negative adjectives describing how they felt about the EU. The most popular responses were "Modern", "Peaceful", "United", and "Likeable".
  • The top four responses among Singaporean respondents were "Modern", "Peaceful", "Fair" and "Likeable".
  • European survey respondents considered Asia as the 3rd most important region for the future of Europe, behind Europe itself and narrowly behind North America. Asia was ranked as the second most important partner by French respondents.
  • Similarly, Europe/EU ranked as the third most important future partner for Asian respondents, featuring in first position in China and Russia, and in second position in Japan.
  • The most important issue for Asia-Europe co-operation according to Asian and European respondents was “Trade”, dominating the findings of both surveys. Other issues included “Environment and Sustainable Development”, “Security and Anti-Terrorism”.
“Personally I feel a greater affinity with Europe compared to the US for example. I was recently in Philadephia... It was 26 hours there and 33 hours back. That kind of journey really takes it out of you and it’s not a direct flight, whereas you can fly direct to all major cities in Europe. ” — Civil Society Elite Interviewee – Singapore “I just think that there is a growing realisation that Asia is a much a bigger part of everybody’s lives in Europe and in particularly in the UK.” — Media Interviewee – United Kingdom

Initiated by ASEM and facilitated by ASEF, is a unique online platform that connects thousands of artists and cultural practitioners with policy makers, cultural ministries and the general public. The portal provides information on news, events and collaborative opportunities with ASEM countries, and encourages dialogue on Asia-Europe cultural relations.

At the 4th ASEM Culture Ministers Meeting, was acknowledged as a “unique initiative” and a “concrete deliverable” of the ASEM process. Likewise, UNSECO, at its 2005 Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, hailed the website as an important tool for cultural expressions around the world.

“The ideal space and place for people to get together, to get to know each other and to exchange points of view.” — Clemens Treter (Goethe Institute) “We live in a world where isolation is not an option. (online portals) (are) is a powerful instrument to connect.” — Anmol Vellani (India foundation of the Arts)

Did you know? covers information from both Asia and Europe across 18 arts and culture disciplines. The platform also integrates two additional websites dedicated to museum and heritage -, and film -

By becoming a member of, you can create your own profile, blogs, groups or take part in forum discussions. Presently there are more than 2000 members in the community of

In total, 82% of site visitors come from Asia and the EU.