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Roundtable on the Book “The Future of Asia-Europe Cooperation”

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Published:
29 Nov 2023

On 29 November 2023, ASEF organised an online Roundtable on “The Future of Asia-Europe Cooperation”. The Roundtable drew on insights from our 25th Anniversary Essay Competition, which led to the book of 68 essays, each reflecting unique perspectives and hopes on Asia-Europe relations. The event was attended by over 50 invited guest list from various sectors and backgrounds, who were interested in learning more about the perspectives and insights of four distinguished panellists on the state and prospects of Asia-Europe relations.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador MORIKAWA Toru, ASEF Executive Director, pointed out that the challenges that our world is currently facing call for collective effort and comprehensive solutions based on strong partnerships. On the other hand, he also acknowledged the positive change happening in these years, which is the rise of South and Southeast Asia. “ASEAN will soon become a 4th economic power in the world and India alone is already 5th economic power. This change gives a fresh perspective to Asia-Europe partnership that Asians and Europeans work together for the betterment of the world”, Amb. Morikawa Toru said in his speech.

The panellists were Dr. Chheang Vannarith, President of Asian Vision Institute, Cambodia; Prof. Evi Fitriani, Professor of International Relations, Universitas Indonesia; Dr. Eva Pejsova, Japan Chair, Centre for Security, Diplomacy, and Strategy, Brussels School of Governance; and Mr. Richard Werly, an award-winning journalist. The roundtable was moderated by Dr YEO Lay Hwee, Director of the EU Centre, Vice-Chair of ASEANCham-EU.

During the discussion, the panellists shared their thoughts on what truly stood out from the diverse voices on the future of Asia-Europe cooperation featured in the publication. They discussed the common themes and challenges that emerged from the essays, such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for multilateralism and dialogue, the role of youth and civil society, and the opportunities for cooperation on climate change, digitalisation, and connectivity. They delved into the hopes, expectations, and concerns that the 68 authors raised in their essays.

The panellists pointed out the importance of differences in the culture and values between Asians and Europeans: “Trusting each other is the key for building a strong relationship. We need a mutual understanding. And to get there, education plays an important role”, said Prof. Evi Fitriani.

Some participants also joined the conversation. They raised important questions on the role of language barriers or how topics like supply chain diversification affect the competition and the cooperation between Asia and Europe. They also explored on many topics like environmental and security challenges.

The roundtable was an opportunity for the panellists and the participants to engage in a lively and thought-provoking discussion, and to gain valuable insights into the future of Asia-Europe cooperation.

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