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From 11 – 16 December 2019, ASEF brought together 128 students from all 51 ASEM Partner countries to participate in the 9th Model ASEM in Madrid, Spain. The youth conference was held as an official side event of the 14th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (ASEMFMM14). 14 Resource Persons, ASEF-trained youth representatives (called Model ASEM Mediators) led the various sessions as Chair, Vice-Chair, Moderators and Rapporteurs, following their participation in the Model ASEM Mediators Training 2019 in Valletta, Malta, earlier in the year.

The 9th Model ASEM was a political simulation of the actual ASEMFMM14 following the same theme of ‘Asia & Europe – Together for Effective Multilateralism’. Participants experienced Asia-Europe diplomacy through various elements including workshops, study visits and role-play exercises. ASEF also facilitated 19 meetings between participants and ASEM Foreign Ministers and Senior Officials.

During the simulation elements, participants represented all 53 ASEM Partners and attended plenary sessions, bilateral meetings and Senior Officials’ Meetings on 6 different topics: ASEM’s Role in Tackling Climate Change & Global Warming; Multilateral Cooperation in ASEM on Agenda 2030 & the SDGs; Cyber & Maritime Security Issues Affecting the ASEM Region; Prevention of Violent Extremism in ASEM Partner Countries; People-to-People Connectivity in ASEM; and Infrastructure & Technology Partnerships for Sustainability. They concluded the simulation with negotiation on a Chair’s Statement. Participants had the opportunity to receive first-hand insights on international relations and diplomacy during sessions with Mr Fernando M. VALENZUELA MARZO, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for Spain and Ambassador Ana SALOMON, the Spanish Director General for North America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Pacific. A panel discussion with HE Ambassador Julie-Ann GUIVARRA, Embassy of Australia to Spain, HE Ambassador M.A. HERMONO, Embassy of Indonesia to Spain, HE Ambassador Emilio DE MIGUEL CALABIA, Embassy of Spain to Thailand, and Mr Petr MATYÁŠ, First Secretary, Embassy of Czech Republic to Spain. Highlight of the conference was a dialogue with HE Dr Miroslav LAJČÁK, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs for the Slovak Republic, moderated by 4 Model ASEM participants.

Part of the conference learning journey included visits to 18 ASEM Diplomatic Missions based in Madrid: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand. These visits allowed participants to meet Ambassadors and Diplomats. They gained insights into the workings of Diplomatic Missions and the relations between the respective ASEM Partners and Spain. Participants also attended skills-based workshops on cultural diplomacy, election security, protocol, fake news, negotiation, public interviews and public speaking.

The 9th Model ASEM concluded with 4 participants joining the Opening Ceremony of the 14th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting (ASEMFMM14) and presenting a collective Youth Intervention, in the presence of Foreign Ministers from 51 Asian and European Countries, the Leaders from the EU and the ASEAN Secretariat, and His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, bringing the youth voice to the ASEM Process.

The 9th Model ASEM was co-organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain (MAEUEC), and Casa Asia, in partnership with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and Universidad Complutense Madrid. The project was also financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the Government of Japan. Supporting partners were European Students’ Forum (AEGEE-Europe), International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS), ASEAN Youth Organization, Erasmus Student Network (ESN), European Students Union (ESU) and the Erasmus Mundus Association (EMA).