“As characterised by its nature of informality, networking and flexibility, the ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM ME) offers a unique platform for cooperation in education between and within Asia and Europe. Focusing on dialogue and mutual understanding based on common perspectives between the two regions, ASEM education cooperation has constantly evolved during the past 10 years. We are now facing a new decade ahead of us. Now is the best time to review the achievements of the past decade, and envision the next decade of the ASEM Education Process.

In the past decade, ASEM education cooperation has never stopped evolving. As a unique platform for inter-regional and intra-regional education cooperation, it took its first step based on the common perspectives in Asia and Europe (ASEM ME1, Berlin), and then started to play a key role in sharing experience and best practices in higher education (ASEM ME2, Hanoi). In order to advance and deepen the cooperation, ASEM education priority areas were shaped (ASEM ME3, Copenhagen), and strategic collaboration was emphasized to strengthen the ASEM Education Process (ASEM ME4, Kuala Lumpur). Recently, two-pillar system – dialogue-oriented and result-oriented systems – was introduced into the process to promote collaboration for results (ASEM ME5, Riga).

In the next decade, the pace of change will only accelerate and the world will become more complex with the wave of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The convergence across the physical, digital and human worlds driven by the new wave will blur the lines between national borders, between social sectors, and between online and offline worlds. Against this backdrop, we will live in a more intertwined world, where a challenge of a single country contagiously becomes a challenge for all, and where vast gaps in technological advancement and individual adaptability among countries exacerbate global inequality, especially in education and employment. Our collective wisdom on the challenges before us, therefore, is required and emphasized more than ever before. Furthermore, since creative problem-solving abilities as well as social and emotional intelligence are viewed as high-priority skills especially in the near future, developing those skills will be critical for tomorrow. Thus, new approaches and renewed relevance should be acquired in ASEM education Process.

The 11th ASEM Summit (ASEM11) held in Mongolia in 2016 emphasized more tangible cooperation in all dimensions between the two regions. The survey conducted prior to ASEMME6 also shows that ASEM education cooperation should now focus more on producing outcome and tangible cooperation. Tangibility and visibility in the ASEM Education Process can be achieved by effectively responding to the demands of the new era. In addition to the cooperation based on dialogue from common perspectives, we should lead our collaboration to ensure effective fulfillment of future demands in the next decade. Recognising the objectives, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea proposes ‘Seoul Declaration‘ to envision a renewed education cooperation in ASEM for the next decade, and will host the 6th ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting (ASEMME6) with the theme Collaboration for the Next Decade: From Common Perspectives to Effective Fulfillment.”

Follow the hashtag #ASEMME6 on Twitter for more information.