An ASEF delegation led by its Executive Director, Ambassador ZHANG Yan, was in Yangzhou, China, on 25-26 April 2013 for the ASEM Symposium ‘Towards Peace and Prosperity in Asia and Europe: The Need for a Dynamic ASEM’. It was an occasion to discuss the future of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) dialogue process.
During the symposium, Ambassador ZHANG discussed the achievements of ASEF in carrying out its mandate set by ASEM leaders in 1996 “to promote understanding and knowledge between the people of Asia and Europe” and translating the ASEM agenda into concrete activities. Over the last 16 years, ASEF has implemented more than 600 projects in ASEM countries in line with the discussions held during ASEM meetings. ASEF’s programmes include the Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights, the Asia-Europe Environment Forum, the ASEM Education Hub, the ASEF Public Health Network, Culture360.org and the ASEM InfoBoard, which are all directly linked to the ASEM process.
The symposium in China gathered some 90 delegates from 40 ASEM members. Attendees discussed views on the for future development of ASEM. Some ideas included suggestions on promoting focused discussions by paring down issues and bringing back the informality of the dialogue, which was the original spirit of the ASEM process.
The symposium was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.