The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is an intergovernmental, not-for-profit organisation which brings together the people of Asia and Europe to address common global challenges. Founded in 1997, it is the only permanent institution of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) political dialogue Process and is publicly funded by voluntary contributions from 53 ASEM Partners.
2020 is a difficult year. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, many operations around the world have been put on hold. Priorities for funding have also shifted. During this time, ASEF has been working hard to remain a core facilitator of people-to-people exchanges in Asia and Europe by transforming its projects, planning new projects, and adding elements of online or virtual activities into its portfolio.
On 11-12 June 2020, our 53 board members from all over Asia and Europe convened online due to current travel restrictions for our 41st ASEF Board of Governors’ Meeting (ASEFBoG41). The meeting had three key outcomes:
1) Election of ASEF’s incoming leadership
Mr Toru MORIKAWA (Japan) was elected Executive Director and Ambassador Leon FABER (Luxembourg) was elected Deputy Executive Director for new four-year terms in Singapore. ASEF’s leadership alternates between Asia and Europe every four years. More details on our press release here.
2) Importance of innovation, resilience, and partnerships
ASEF’s mandate is to bring Asians and Europeans together for opportunities for meaningful exchange and collaboration. In doing so, ASEF always works with local and international partners to implement its projects. Because of shifting priorities around the globe, more than ever, ASEF will look to strengthen its existing partnerships and develop new ones. As the world starts to recover from COVID-19, ASEF catalytic role of enabling concerted efforts across continents would be more important, and it will take on innovative approaches to continue fulfilling its raison d’etre.
3) Focus on digitalisation
The world has been increasingly digital and hyperconnected before COVID-19 and the pandemic has accelerated this new normal. At ASEF, digitalisation will be priority across its seven key thematic areas of work: Culture, Economy, Education, Governance, Media, Public Health and Sustainable Development. Hybrid projects – a mix of online and physical components – will be a central part of ASEF’s portfolio going forward. ASEF is also improving its digital ecosystem, beginning with a revamp of its website, in order to effectively engage wider audiences.
ASEFBoG41 family photo
The ASEF Management Team:
Top row: Mr Yannick BINEAU, Director, Governance & Economy; Ms Leonie NAGARAJAN, Director, Education; Ms Anupama SEKHAR, Director, Culture;
Bottom row: Mr Lawrence ANDERSON, Director, Communications; Ms Gina PULAWSKA, Acting Director, Sustainable Development & Public Health; Mr SUN Xiangyang, Acting Executive Director
* Mr LAM Kong Chai, Director, Finance was not present
ASEFBoG41 also saw the introduction of 12 newly appointed ASEF Governors. Get to know some of them here:
1) H.E. Robert Mattheus Michael TENE, ASEF Governor from the ASEAN Secretariat
2) Mr Javier PARRONDO, ASEF Governor from Spain
Check our inteview with Mr PARRONDO for the first edition of our ‘Meet our ASEF Family and Friends’ Initiative