Over 100 representatives of the Asian and European diplomatic corps, international organisations, educational and research institutions, and think tanks based in Singapore gathered at the premises of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) on 12 December 2016 to extend a warm welcome to ASEF’s 7th Executive Director, Ambassador Karsten WARNECKE.
In his address to the guests and ASEF staff at the event, Ambassador Warnecke expressed his heartfelt gratitude for all the support he received in becoming the Head of ASEF after having been its Deputy Head for 4 years. “There was no precedent for anyone moving from Deputy to Executive Director at ASEF. And I was particularly honoured by this initiative, given the very big shoes left behind by such eminent figures as ASEF’s first Executive Director, Professor Tommy Koh.” He added, “I was delighted by the outcome and humbled by the support I received, and by the trust placed in me by so many to lead this unique and important organisation.”
The new Executive Director was proud of ASEF’s role in connecting Asia and Europe: “ASEF connects very different Asian and European countries and cultures, as diverse as Germany and China, Finland and Mongolia. We manage to bring people together, Asians and Europeans, civil society and government representatives, women and men, the young and the less young – pretty much like the crowd we have brought together here tonight.”
Speaking with pride about the impact of ASEF’s endeavours, Ambassador Warnecke said, “we work and deliver projects in 51 Asian and European countries between Norway and New Zealand, so we make news around the world but rarely in the same country. … In our projects we get people to collaborate and produce outcomes and results, recommendations and reports, and, in some cases, we even manage to change lives.”
“In 2017, ASEF turns 20. For this occasion, we have created a new tagline, which we feel exemplifies the spirit in which we work: ‘Diversity creates”’, Ambassador Warnecke announced. “Create what? … Create anything: new ideas and new solutions; new options and new alternatives; new experiences and new opportunities; new networks and new friendships. … We believe that ASEF is where diversity creates the future for both our continents.”
On behalf of the ASEF Board of Governors, the new Vice-Chair of the Board, ASEF Governor from Mongolia, Ambassador TUMUR Lkhagvadorj said, “20 years of fruitful growth of ASEM were successfully supported by excellent performance of ASEF, which will celebrate its 20th Anniversary under the leadership of our newly appointed Executive and Deputy Executive Directors. Both of them are fully supported by our Board of Governors. I wish them best of successes in continuously reaching out to wider communities across Asia and Europe, bringing more positive effects to our society.”
For more information about Ambassador Karsten WARNECKE assuming office as the new ASEF Executive Director, please click here.
Full welcome reception address by Ambassador Karsten WARNECKE