ASEF 20th Anniversary
The ASEF Summer University (ASEFSU) is a multi-week programme that aims to promote cross-cultural exchanges among youth from countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). Organised annually since 1998 at locations alternating between Asia and Europe, ASEFSU offers opportunities for promising students and young professionals to explore socio-economic issues through a programme of lectures, workshops, field visits, and other highly interactive activities. ASEFSU is a unique project that encourages intercultural dialogue and appreciation for the history, culture, economics and politics of Asia and Europe. During the project, strong personal ties and a sustainable network of students and young professionals from both regions are forged.
The goals of ASEFSU are to:
- Engage the youth in the ASEM process by providing an inclusive platform for practical and on-site learning opportunities, dialogue, and exchange on ASEM’s priority topics
- Train participants to enhance their creative thinking and hands-on skills by offering a programme which addresses various societal challenges
- Facilitate dialogue and practical on-site learning, and connect youth from ASEM countries with partner organisations and local communities
- Provide a youth perspective on ASEM’s priority topics to the ASEM policy makers and thereby contribute to the deliberations and preparations of relevant ASEM Meetings
Previous editions of the ASEM Summer University have led us on journeys to India on the theme “Sustainable Urbanisation in Heritage Cities”, Estonia on “Conscious Consumers for Environmental Sustainability”, France on “Liberty, Security, and the New Global Order” and Japan on “Enlarging the European Union and Asia”, to name just a few. On the special occasion of the 20th ASEF Summer University (ASEFSU20), we explored the theme “Gateways to Asia and Europe: Connectivity by Land, Sea and Air”. Having been selected from a pool of 8,222 applicants, 47 students and young professionals from 45 ASEM partner countries solved business, policy, and socio-cultural challenges linked to transportation. This 3-week train journey across China, Mongolia, and the Russian Federation represented ASEF’s most ambitious and dynamic education project to date.
One of the many ASEFSU20 highlights was the participants’ development of concrete, pragmatic, or visionary solutions to 9 pertinent ‘Connectivity Challenges’ facing governments, businesses, NGOs, and local communities, linked to 4 major transportation modes: road, rail, maritime, and air. The after-movie of the project can be viewed here.
The 21st edition of the ASEF Summer University (ASEFSU21) is planned to take place between January and February 2018 in Australia and New Zealand on the theme “Youth with Disabilities: Shaping Accessible ASEM Societies”. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ASEFSU project series, the participants of the ASEFSU21 will develop strong understanding of the issues faced by youth with disabilities and become active ambassadors for open and inclusive ASEM societies. Through formal and non-formal educational approaches, the project participants will explore 8 thematic areas, namely Mobility, Rights Protection & Legislation, Economic Security & Employment, Inclusive Education, Health & Well-Being, Participation in Society, Access to Information, and Attitudes & Perceptions, and propose solutions to challenges faced by ASEM youth with disabilities. The public Open Call for Participation to the ASEFSU21 will be launched in October 2017 through the project’s webpage.