Over the decades, Asia and Europe have evolved together through political dialogue, economic cooperation and social, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, seeking a common ground while putting aside differences. Such sharing has gained momentum with deeper cooperation between the two regions ushering in a new era of relations between Asia and Europe. In today’s interconnected world, the two regions are living a common reality.
A common destiny, which is strengthened by multilateral cooperation to address shared concerns and challenges such as pandemics, environment, health of world economy, among others. With social networks and other technological advancements, developing by leaps and bounds, we, as societies and individuals, are becoming more closely connected than ever before. And beyond technology, the richness of our cultures, with similarities and diversities, bind us together.
Since 1997, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) has been instrumental in deepening such political and intellectual ties between Asia and Europe. After the historical first Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in 1996, ASEF was established to play the strategic role in connecting civil society with governments encouraging mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit between the ASEM member states. This year marks the 15th anniversary of ASEF. A time to look back and cherish the successful outcomes of that cooperation between countries and regions. At the same time to celebrate the spirit of sharing and setting common goals for a connected future.