Dear ASEFEdu Partners, Alumni and Friends,
We want to check in on you. Many of you are facing challenging circumstances regarding health, education, social well-being or finances. We are reaching out with words of encouragement and to show our solidarity. We also hope to offer support and to play our role in a community of Asians and Europeans to get through this together.
As our partners, alumni and friends, you are aware that our strength is in creating personal connections, in bringing you together – face-to-face – to share your perspectives, experiences and practices to learn from each other. The current lockdown in most countries significantly limits this strength. The safety of our participants is of utmost importance to us and, hence, our upcoming projects and meetings are on hold. In this situation where personal, close interactions are unfeasible, we would like to activate our networks that we have already created with you over the past years. These are long-lasting, unbound by location and, together, we can mobilise them to strengthen community support – even though this might now happen virtually.
Many initiatives by our government stakeholders, partner organisations and ASEFEdu alumni in the education, youth and other sectors across Asia and Europe give us hope. They show that our societies can rely and depend on each other despite social distancing and border closures.
ASEM Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Ministries of Education are doing their best in these unprecedented and complex times to keep everyone safe and engaged. For example, Estonia offers its digital education solutions for free to support other countries (see Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia).
Schools, universities, youth & student associations, NGOs & EdTech enterprises in 51 countries are exploring solutions for continued education, be it through virtual teaching & learning or other suitable approaches. Through their work and research, they build confidence and community resilience. For example, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) collected messages of reassurance and comfort from students to students across the globe in this Video.
It is heart-warming to see that our alumni – students, teachers, trainers, lecturers, education experts and youth across various professional sectors, including young doctors or healthcare workers at the frontline of the COVID-19 outbreak – have been giving their time, support and expertise on how to navigate through this so far unknown environment. For example, several teachers from the ASEF Classroom Network have offered to provide online tutorials for teachers, students and parents in need.
We want to pay our respects to their – and your – support & efforts through this email. We have started to share some useful resources on our communication platforms and will continue to highlight admirable activities by our stakeholders, partner organisations and alumni among our wide Asia-Europe network. They truly convey the much-needed spirit of mutual understanding, collaboration and global support.
We hope that you stay safe,
ASEF’s Education Department