At invitation of the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam, the Senior Officials of ASEM countries met in Hanoi on 19/20 January, 2009, in order to prepare for the second ASEM Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher Education in Hanoi on 14/15 May, 2009. At the meeting in Hanoi some 58 representatives from 32 ASEM countries and the European Commission were present.

In his welcome address, Dr. Banh Tien Long, the Standing Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam, stressed the importance of educational cooperation between Asia and Europe as free trade agreements are under negotiation between the regions and among the regions’ member countries. Education should lead the way and help remove bottlenecks for cultural, education and economic cooperation among countries in ASEM. He also expressed his expectation for more concrete actions to start dialogues on quality assurance, recognition and on human resource development in order to improve the employability by strengthening education business relations to increase mobility among ASEM countries.

The Vietnamese SOM chair, Mr. Tran Ba Viet Dung, the General Director of the International Cooperation Department from the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam welcomed the ASEM delegations and stressed that that the Hanoi conference in may 2009 should build on the results of discussion and recommendations from the first ASEM Conference in Berlin and prepare for the ASEM summit in Brussels in 2010 and give valuable input to the third ministerial conference on education in 2010.