Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)       
The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) promotes understanding, strengthens relationships and facilitates cooperation among the people, institutions and organisations of Asia and Europe. ASEF enhances dialogue, enables exchanges and encourages collaboration across the thematic areas of culture, education, governance, sustainable development, economy and public health.  

ASEF is an intergovernmental, not-for-profit organisation located in Singapore. Founded in 1997, it is the only institution of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).  

ASEF runs more than 25 projects a year, consisting of around 100 activities, mainly conferences, seminars, workshops, lectures, publications, and online platforms, together with about 125 partner organisations. Each year over 3,000 Asians and Europeans participate in ASEF's activities, and much wider audiences are reached through its various events, networks and web-portals.  

In March 1996, the leaders of 25 European and East Asian countries, together with the European Commission, convened in Bangkok, Thailand, for the inaugural Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). This historic summit paved the way for the establishment of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) one year later in 1997. ASEF is the only permanently established institution of ASEM and is funded by voluntary contributions from ASEM partners and shares the financing of its projects with its civil society partners across Asia and Europe.  

The agreement by the ASEM leaders to establish ASEF can be found in the Chair's Statement of the 1st ASEM Summit (ASEM1) in 1996.  

ASEF's Expansion  

New ASEM Partners automatically become members of ASEF.  

At the 5th ASEM Summit  (ASEM5) in October 2004 in Hanoi, Viet Nam, the ASEM process expanded from 26 to 39 countries, including the 10 new members of the European Union, as well as Cambodia, the Lao PDR and Myanmar. The second round of enlargement happened in October 2008 during the 7th ASEM Summit (ASEM7), when India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Romania, Bulgaria and the ASEAN Secretariat were officially welcomed into ASEM. During the 8th ASEM Summit (ASEM8) in October 2010 held in Brussels, Belgium, 3 new members joined the ASEM process: Australia, New Zealand and the Russian Federation. This third round of enlargement increased the partnership to 48 partners. During the 9th ASEM Summit (ASEM9) in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2012, ASEM was officially joined by Bangladesh, Norway, and Switzerland. Another round of enlargement took place during the 10th ASEM Summit (ASEM10) in October 2014 in Milan, Italy, when Croatia and Kazakhstan formally joined ASEM, bringing the total number of ASEM Partners to 53.   

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