Minister Roche addresses Asia Europe Foundation meeting, Dublin Castle
The Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr. Dick Roche T.D., today welcomed to Dublin the Board of Governors of the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF.) Representatives of ASEF are visiting Dublin for a meeting in Dublin Castle from 26-27 May.
Addressing the meeting, Minister Roche expressed his thanks for the contribution and leadership of the outgoing Chairman of ASEF, Dr. Horst Krenzler and welcomed the incoming Chairman, Mr. Wang Min, who is the first Chinese Chairman of ASEF.
Minister Roche said;
“We in Ireland have an affinity with many of the experiences of our Asian friends…(w)e are, perhaps unusual in the European experience in having links with many countries across Asia through the work of Irish educationalists who first went to the region in the late nineteenth century - mirroring the Irish missions to Europe a millennium earlier.”
The Minister continued;
“Today it is our companies and educational and cultural institutions which are building links in Asia - and since 1998 the Government has in place an effective Asia Strategy to encourage and support these developments.”
Note for Editors:
The first Asia-Europe Meeting ASEM was held in Bangkok in 1996 with the participation of 10 Asian and 15 European countries. The 10 Asian countries in the ASEM process are: Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
That meeting resulted in the setting-up of the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) which aims to promote better mutual understanding between the peoples of the two regions through greater intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The guiding principles behind the Foundation were actually decided on during Ireland’s 1996 Presidency and are called the ‘Dublin Principles.’
Ireland’s active participation for the activities of ASEF has been an important element in Ireland’s Asia Strategy which the Government initiated in 1998. Under this strategy, the Government has worked with the public and private sectors to build better cultural and political relations with Asia as well as supporting the activities of Irish companies in an increasingly important region for Irish business.
The Asia Strategy also recognises the important role which inter-cultural exchanges and high-level visits in both directions can play in building links. A recent example is the Ireland Festival in China, which involved a range of Ireland’s cultural highlights including Riverdance and an exhibition from the Irish Museum of Modern Art, travelling to Beijing and Shanghai. ASEF, the Secretariat of which is based in Singapore, is, in effect, the cultural arm of ASEM, and implements projects across the Asian and European Region. The Irish Government contributed € 70,000 to the work of ASEF in 2004. Ireland’s representative on the ASEF Board of Governors is Dr Tom Hardiman.
The organisation works with a wide range of partners including governments, foundations, education institutions, corporations and relevant non-government organizations to;
· build networks in the ASEM countries; · cooperate with relevant institutions and individuals; · act as a catalyst and facilitator; · organise flagship projects of its own.
The Foundation also seeks to promote consensus and mutual understanding through dialogue in its people-to-people programmes. Irish people from across a range of disciplines and representing a broad range of organizations have participated successfully in ASEF Programmes. Ireland hosted the Asia Europe Young Leaders Forum in Limerick in 2000.