Meet our ASEF Family and Friends
Mr Javier PARRONDO (ASEF Governor from Spain)
Mr Javier PARRONDO is ASEF’s Governor from Spain. He was appointed in February 2020. Currently, he is the Director General of Casa Asia, an institution of public diplomacy created in 2001 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, the regional government of Catalonia, and the City Councils of Barcelona and Madrid, aimed at fostering relations between Spain and the countries of Asia and the Pacific region, particularly among their respective civil societies.
Tell us a bit about your life and career. And don’t leave out the tasty bits!
Well, I am a Spanish diplomat, passionate about my job and always eager to know new places and cultures. I was born in Madrid and have always loved travelling. Probably that is one of the main reasons why I chose to join the Foreign Service. I have been posted mostly in Asia, in places such Afghanistan, Vietnam, or Jerusalem. Not easy sometimes, but always rewarding. And now I am working in Casa Asia in Barcelona and enjoying a lot being back home and discovering this part of Spain!
What are some of the things you have done that you are most proud of?
Probably those I did while I was working at the Spanish Development Agency (AECID). I could participate in projects that had an impact on people and that´s extremely satisfactory. You could see how your work improve others´ lives!
Any regrets, things you wish you had done differently?
Life is about choosing and when you choose you necessarily discard things. Regret is probably not the right word. Maybe I need sometimes to think twice before reacting. It´s easy to hurt people involuntarily so we need to be extra careful with our words and actions and ensure that both are kind and considerate.
Do you have hobbies or leisurely pursuits you’d like to share with us?
I love theatre and use to go often to see plays. I also like travelling and I try to visit new places as much as I can. Sometimes it´s not a question of going to faraway places. I am now working in Barcelona, which I barely knew, and I am discovering amazing spots in the city itself or just a few kilometres away. Sometimes travelling becomes an end in itself. For me, the experiences and people you meet on the way are the most important things.
Please recommend a book you read recently, and what was in it you found interesting?
I recently read a book in Spanish about the Roma people called: “Gitanidad, otra manera de ver el mundo”, which could be translated as The Roma way of living, a different manner to approach the world. It is a book written by Sergio Rodríguez, who is Roma himself, and explains the Roma people from a new perspective based on its essence and its Indian origins. The book has changed my perception about this community and has shown to me how it managed to survive throughout history despite the discrimination it has gone through.
If you had the chance, whom would you most like to meet?
I have always admired Michael Fassbender, actor and film producer. Some of my favourite movies are those starred by him, such as Hunger or Shame. I think that, apart from his work, he could be an interesting person to talk to. I would love to meet him and have a chat with him over a coffee. He is definitely one of the finest representations of the European culture and being himself half German and half Irish, I am convinced a conversation with him would be most interesting!
This is the first edition of our ‘Meet our ASEF Family and Friends’ Initiative where we want to introduce our ASEF Governors, staff, as well as resource experts, participants and friends who have or had some connections to ASEF – to our growing audiences. We hope to show the human side of our networks as we at ASEF strive to remain a core facilitator of people-to-people connectivity within the ASEM region.
The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is an intergovernmental, not-for-profit organisation which brings together the people of Asia and Europe to address common 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.
ASEF promotes understanding, strengthens relationships and facilitates cooperation among the people, institutions and organisations of Asia and Europe. ASEF encourages collaboration across the thematic areas of culture, economy, education, governance, media, sustainable development, and public health. Over the past 23 years, ASEF has brought together more than 40,000 people from Asia and Europe, through seminars, workshops, conferences, publications, web portals, grants, and public talks.
For more information, please visit www.ASEF.org