The 8th Asia-Europe Young Leaders’ Symposium, `Shifting Paradigms in Asia-Europe Relations: Translating Common Challenges into Common Opportunities,’ was conducted from 29th November to 3rd December, 2004 in the Hague, the Netherlands.
Here, over 70 leading young professionals from politics, business, academia, media, the arts and civil society came together to grapple with emerging trends and current developments in relation to `a new world disorder.’
Five topics were identified as having implications on the state of Asia-Europe relations in the near future: the effect of population trends on social welfare systems; the future of economic co-operation (or confrontation); the design of a common cultural portal; enhancing the dialogue among cultures and civilisations; and elections as an end or means to democratisation.
Keynote speakers Frank Majoor, Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and senior Indonesian diplomat Sastrohandoyo Wiryono, ASEF Governor and Senior Fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, emphasised the informal dialogue process of ASEM as an important medium for consultation and joint action on issues such as terrorism, human trafficking, intercultural and ethnic strife, the fight against HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation and the depletion of resources. “A globalising world with free movement of goods, services, people and capital brings with it new kinds of security risks. These risks may have an international impact… and while having no direct military and political implications, may still pose a serious threat to the security of individuals,” stated Majoor.
Asia and Europe have much to benefit from a strong partnership, such as regional stability, mutual economic prosperity, increased integration, and the growth of democracy and good governance. Wiryono stated, “Europe must be able to show that it is not too progressive in projecting its values, while Asia must guard against looking too defensive about its own values. One should not preach too much, while the other should not complain too much.”
The 8th Young Leaders Symposium was co-organised by ASEF, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Institute of Asia Studies.