The critical and complex challenges facing our society today increasingly require collective actions from governments, civil society, and businesses to create effective and sustainable solutions. However, this is only possible if organisations and people from different sectors are willing and able to think, learn, communicate and collaborate across the boundaries that used to divide them.
To build awareness of cross-sector cooperation and capacity for bridging public and private sectors for partnerships among its own staff and those of like-minded international organisations, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) launched a Seminar Series on Cross-Sector Collaboration on 16 February 2017 in Singapore.
The Inaugural Speakers were Professor Ann FLORINI from Singapore Management University (SMU), the founder and Academic Director of SMU’s Master of Tri-Sector Collaboration, the first of its kind Graduate Programme in the world, and Professor Leo TAN, ASEF Governor from Singapore who is currently the Director of Special Projects at the Science Faculty, National University of Singapore (NUS), and Advisor to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. Both prominent scholars are also high achieving practitioners in cross-sector dialogue and cooperation.
In addition to ASEF staff, the Inaugural Seminar attracted senior representatives of the inter-governmental organisations located in ASEF’s neighbourhood, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, the Singapore Office of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the Global Centre for Public Service Excellence of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC). It was also attended by some Ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic missions of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) countries in Singapore.
The Executive Director of ASEF, Ambassador Karsten WARNECKE said in his opening remarks at the Inaugural: “Tri-sectoral cooperation between governments, civil society and businesses is proving to be essential in finding sustainable solutions for today’s problems and future challenges. As different as our organisations and interests may be, we need to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration for greater efficiency and impact of each and as a whole.”
Since its inception in February 1997, ASEF has been playing the role of complementing the government-led ASEM process by bringing together the civil societies from Asia and Europe for solution-oriented dialogue and cooperation. In recent years, ASEF has increasingly engaged the business sector in its programmes and projects in various thematic areas.