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Culture Department


The appreciation for cultural diversity is a fundamental objective of the bi-regional dialogue between Asia and Europe, and calls for different forms of exposure, exchange and creativity. In this regard, ASEF’s Department of Cultural Exchange carries out its work in different areas, ranging from the promotion of cultural dialogue, networking and research opportunities, to the support of artistic exchanges and new creative collaborations. Through its wide range of multilateral programmes, it seeks to fulfil the expectations of the cultural communities of Asia and Europe, while addressing the political priorities of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Culture Minister’s Meetings (ASEM CMMs). ASEM is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation bringing together the 27 European Union member states, 2 European countries, and the European Commission with 20 Asian countries and the ASEAN Secretariat.

Our Goals

Our Work

The Department’s multilateral programmes aim at creating better awareness on the role of culture in society and in the context of Asia-Europe relations. To this end, it promotes a wide range of dialogue and exchange opportunities inspired by the social and political priorities of the two regions. In the process of designing its projects and activities, the Department acts as an ‘observatory’ for the latest developments that are taking place across the cultural communities of Asia and Europe, while placing a particular attention on the political agenda of the ASEM Culture Ministers’ Meetings (CMMs).

In terms of formats and outcomes, the Departments’ projects and activities include:

Current programmes

The Department’s programmes on cultural dialogue aim to encourage the exchange of knowledge, information and experience on issues related to the role of culture in society. To this end, we gather a variety of stakeholders, including cultural experts, researchers, cultural practitioners, as well as policymakers and public officials. 

In addition, the Department’s programme on arts and creativity supports the activities of relevant stakeholders engaged in the arts and cultural sectors of Asia and Europe, through the promotion of artistic exchanges and creative collaborations.

Recent Research & Publications

Managing Heritage Cities in Asia and Europe: the Role of Public-Private Partnerships

A compilation of 36 case studies from 23 countries in Asia and Europe.

Funding Opportunities for International Cultural Exchange in Asia (2012)

A compilation of 21 guides providing up-to-date information on funding schemes available for cultural professionals in Asia and beyond.

Team Members