Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

From 29 June to 11 July 2009, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) organised its 15th edition of the ASEF University (AU15) in partnership with Woosuk University in Wanju, Republic of Korea. Themed “Migration and Multi-Cultural Societies: Opportunities and Challenges”, AU15 aimed to compare, connect and contrast the impacts of the globalisation process on migration and multi-cultural societies.

There is growing recognition that migration is an essential and inevitable component of a state’s economic and social life. Orderly and proper migration management can benefit both individuals and societies.

Whilst emphasising the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)1 perspectives on key global developments that are reshaping the social, economic, cultural and symbolic aspects of migration and multi-cultural societies, AU15 featured the ASEM process and integration in Asia and Europe.

The programme provided an enriching experience for 39 students and young professionals from 30 ASEM countries to broaden their views on the process of migration and multi-cultural societies in Asia and Europe. The programme was composed of lectures, discussions and working groups.

On the last day of the programme, the AU15 participants developed policy recommendations on the following sub-topics related to migration and multicultural societies:
  • Media and Diversity
  • Education
  • Economic Impact
  • Intercultural Dialogue
  • Political Participation
  • Health
All AU15 participants became members of the ASEF University Alumni Network (ASEFUAN)2, which comprises more than 600 alumni from 44 ASEM countries who hold positions in their respective governments, business sectors, academia, civil societies, etc. In line with ASEF’s mission, ASEFUAN organises projects that promote intercultural dialogue between Asia and Europe, particularly among the younger generation.

Woosuk University

July of 2009 still lives with us. Young leaders of next generation from Europe and Asia were beginning to turn up one by one at the campus of Woosuk University. There they worked for two weeks on a topic of global concern, ‘immigration and multicultural society’, listening to the lectures, raising question and exploring chances of resolving problems. In the classroom, in the coffee breaks or over the meals there appeared to dawn a bright spot in human society.

The 15th ASEF University held in Woosuk University offered a space for the youths of Eurasian continent to breach the differences and gaps dividing us in the realms of region, race and culture. It provided them with chances to look for the ways and means of exchange and cooperation among people to cure the ills that torment us all today. It was also an opportunity for them to think about theoretical framework and practical ways of implementing their solutions to the common aporia of humanity in this day and age of globalization.

Today the prosperity and progress of human society hinges on the coexistence of different regions, cultures and ethnicities. This appears at times more easily said than done. There remain thorny problems in the paths of humanity, putting us on our mettle and testing our wisdom. However, in the summer of 2009 we saw a hope for a better future for mankind in the eyes of young people who were gathered in the campus of Woosuk. These young people were on their own. They were participating in the events and speaking in the discussions on behalf of their country, their culture, their race but most of all for themselves and also of the whole mankind.

What went on during two weeks time at Woosuk still remain vividly in our memory. These memories will be a valuable reference and resource for all those who are concerned with the problem facing all of us today. It is a pity that we cannot include in this small publication all the facts related to the events. I regret also that we cannot mention all those who rendered us unremitting support, those who worked strenuously for the success of the 15th ASEF University and those who participated in one way or other in the events organised by the University. I am sure however that all of us who were parts of the whole project will be happy in the knowledge that what we did together will be a good contribution to the progress of global village and also for future of ASEF University.
1. ASEM now brings together 49 member states (Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Vietnam) plus the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat. 2. More information can be found on www.asefuan.org