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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.

Governance is one of ASEF’s seven key thematic areas. In this field, we promote informal, open and non-confrontational dialogue between civil society and government representatives, particularly in human rights. We also make concrete and practical contributions to the ASEM process by providing a tailored capacity-building training for early-/mid-career diplomats and government officials engaged in public diplomacy efforts. Our work in human rights and public diplomacy complement ASEM’s political pillar, a key element of the ASEM Process. 

We strive to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation among ASEM Partners by equipping our training participants with up-to-date tools and necessary approaches for making their domestic policies better understood abroad and by providing a unique networking opportunity to connect Asian and European diplomats. 

Our Work

Human Rights

We organise annual Human Rights seminars, trainings and policy briefings covering issues of importance to Asia and Europe. Through the Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights Series (ASEMHRS), we provide a platform for an exchange of views and practices related to human rights across Asia and Europe. We add value to Asia-Europe relations by transforming the outcomes of our projects into inputs actionable for Asia-Europe policy dialogue. In particular, a set of recommendations are elaborated collectively and sent to the relevant institutions in ASEM Partner countries as informal contributions to the official ASEM dialogue. The recommendations are made available to the public through the ASEMHRS publications and seminar reports. The Seminar recommendations and outcomes are further presented to a wider audience through outreach events and utilised to train government officials and practitioners on human rights topics.

Since 1997, ASEF has co-organised 19 Informal ASEM Human Rights Seminars across Asia and Europe with more than 1,900 participants from 53 ASEM Partners.

Public Diplomacy

The ASEF Public Diplomacy Training (ASEFPDT) combines participatory online learning and face-to-face interactions facilitated by public diplomacy experts and trainers. The modules are designed to keep participants abreast of new developments in the field through peer-to-peer learning, analysing case studies and designing strategic campaigns. 

ASEFPDT Alumni are encouraged to apply the practical skills they acquired through the online course and the face-to-face training in their work to increase foreign and domestic publics’ awareness of the ASEM Process and ASEF.

Since its inception in 2013, ASEF has co-organised 7 tutored online courses and 7 face-to-face collaborations, across Asia and Europe, benefitting more than 250 junior diplomats and civil servants from 52 ASEM Partners.

Let's keep in touch!

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Read the annual Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights publications. Find them all here

Listen to the Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud

Join our ASEF Public Diplomacy Webinar Series – Stay tuned!

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Meet the Team behind ASEF's Governance & Economy Department



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