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The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is an intergovernmental, not-for-profit organisation which brings together the people of Asia and Europe to address common global challenges. It is the only permanent institution of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) political dialogue Process and is publicly funded by voluntary contributions from 53 ASEM Partners.

Culture is one of ASEF’s seven key thematic areas. In this field, we promote cultural relations by connecting artists, cultural professionals, arts organisations, public institutions, networks and museums in Asia and Europe. We respond to current gaps in cultural cooperation between Asia and Europe by providing access to information, facilitating cultural mobility and promoting artistic diversity. Through our work, we also contribute to implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDGs 4.4 (skills for employment), 5.5 (women’s leadership), 8.9 (promote local culture and products), 10 a (preferential treatment), 10.7 (mobility of people), 11 a (strengthening urban-periphery links), 11.4 (safeguarding heritage), 16.10 (access to information), and 17.17 (civil society partnerships). At ASEM Summits and ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meetings (ASEMFMMs), we make cultural collaborations visible to the public and policymakers. At ASEM Culture Ministers’ Meetings (ASEMCMMs), we bring the voice of the arts community to the policy level. Finally, we translate recommendations of ASEM Leaders into concrete ASEF projects in culture.

Our Work

ASEF’s work in culture currently addresses 3 key issues of mutual relevance for Asia-Europe cultural co-operation - cultural information systems, cultural mobility and artistic diversity – through 3 projects: is a mobile-friendly digital platform offering access to relevant and updated information on arts, heritage and the creative industries from all member countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). It reaches over 250,000 users annually and continues to play the role of a permanent information architecture for bi-regional dialogue on the arts.

Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative supports travel grants for cultural professionals in Asia and Europe. It also promotes digital conversations and knowledge networks among mobility funders.

ASEF supports the ASEM Cultural Festival, an official side-event of ASEM Summits and ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meetings. This annual public arts festival promotes artistic diversity as well as cultural collaborations between Asia & Europe.

Currently, ASEF sits on the Executive Committee of the Asia-Europe Museum Network (ASEMUS) and also serves as the Secretariat of network.

For opportunities and updates on Culture...

Are you interested in cultural mobility? Visit our Mobility First! microsite and download the Mobility Funding Guides for 51 countries of Asia and Europe

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Meet the Team behind ASEF's Culture Department!


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