The first face-to-face training course of the Asia-Europe Public Diplomacy Training Initiative took place on 2-4 July 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. Over 25 young and enterprising diplomats from 22 ASEM countries participated in the training. Leading experts in the fields of perception studies and public diplomacy provided the participants with fresh and innovative approaches towards public diplomacy with a distinct Asia-Europe focus.
ASEF’s Executive Director Ambassador ZHANG Yan attended the opening ceremony. He underscored the importance of communication in the new information age, stressing how digitalisation and the internet have opened new avenues for effective public diplomacy efforts.
The workshop was complemented by a roundtable discussion “Asia in the Eyes of Europe, Europe in the Eyes of Asia” including panellists Ms Micheline CALMY-REY, Former President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland and Mr Thani THONGPHAKDL, Permanent Representative of Thailand to the UN.
The 3-day training provided ample opportunity for hands-on exercises, team-work and debate amongst participants. The training enabled Asian and European diplomats with a stronger understanding of ASEM whilst networking and strengthening the ASEM process as a whole.