Today is the very first edition of ASEM Day. It celebrates the importance of connecting Europe and Asia in all areas, based on the principles of equal partnership, mutual respect and mutual benefits of the ASEM dialogue.
With its 53 partners, ASEM is the key platform that brings together Europe's and Asia's leading policymakers, business representatives and civil society actors across its three pillars – political, economic and cultural. ASEM plays a vital role as ideas laboratory and dialogue framework, representing 60% of the world's population, 60% of global GDP and 60% of global trade. In today's volatile world, the ASEM process has a new sense of purpose and momentum as a key platform for promoting open, rules-based international cooperation.
We are looking forward to the next ASEM Summit, which will be held in Brussels in 2018.
The first ASEM Summit was held in Bangkok on 1 March 1996. At the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM11) Summit in Mongolia on 15-16 July 2016, Leaders took the decision to designate 1 March as ASEM Day, with a view to underline ASEM's importance and raising its visibility.
In 2017, ASEM Ministerial Meetings of Education Ministers (May, South Korea), Economic Ministers (September, South Korea), Transport Ministers (September, Indonesia) and Foreign Ministers (November, Myanmar), as well numerous workshops, seminars and conferences in Europe or in Asia-Pacific will take place on topics ranging from development over human rights to water management and climate change.
As the only institution under ASEM founded in 1997, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) promotes greater mutual understanding between Asia and Europe through intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.