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Shared Heritage: As we see it

A Travelling Exhibition by the participants of the 17th ASEF University

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
20 Jun 2011 - 30 June 2013 Asia-Europe Foundation Education Department ASEF Summer University Culture

ASEM countries

Forty-one (41) students and young professionals from 31 ASEM countries have collaborated on this travelling exhibition entitled “Shared Heritage: As We See It”. It showcases photographs and videos presented at the culmination of the 17th ASEF University (AU17) programme in Penang, Malaysia (July 2011). The exhibition highlights the perspectives of AU17 participants on “Cultural Heritage”.

AU17 is a response to the priorities identified by the Culture Ministers of Asia and Europe during the 4th Culture Ministers Meeting (CMM) in Poznan, Poland (2010). “The need to foster awareness of common cultural heritage as a part of youth education” was given special emphasis by the Ministers.

The exhibition covers the following themes:
     - Definition of Shared Heritage
     - Importance of Shared Heritage
     - Examples of Shared Heritage
     - Young People and Shared Heritage

The exhibition was presented alongside the 5th Culture Ministers’ Meeting (CMM) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (September, 2012). In het first half of 2013, it is scheduled to be shown in Australia and Spain (TBC).

Read more about the ASEF University Programme  |  View the exhibition online


  • ASEF University Alumni Network (ASEFUAN)
  • Duta Wacana Christian University (UKDW)
  • National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum
  • Odaia Creativă/ The Creative Room 
  • Vizrakter

Project Updates

  • A sharing from ASEF University alumnus

    Published on 05 Nov 2012

    "During the 2-week (17th ASEF University) programme, we put aside our differences and learned that heritage can be used as a tool to bring us together. This experience had been very significant for us who took part in it. I believe that it had a unique role in enhancing mutual understanding, trust and friendship amongst all the participants. The photo and video exhibition entitled ‘Shared Heritage: As We See It’ is our child, born out of our collective efforts."

    This article was contributed by Mr Yulianto. He is the Lecturer, Duta Wacana Christian University, Indonesia.

    Read more…

  • A transient visit, a lifetime of memoirs

    Published on 08 Oct 2012

    AU17 in Jogjakarta

    Contributed by Mr Yulianto (AU17, Indonesia)
    (Lecturer, Duta Wacana Christian University [UKDW]) 

    During the 2-week programme, we put aside our differences and learned that heritage can be used as a tool to bring us together. This AU17 experience had been very significant for us who took part in it. I believe that it had a unique role in enhancing mutual understanding, trust and friendship amongst all the participants. The photo and video exhibition entitled “Shared Heritage: As We See It” is our child, born out of our collective efforts. 

    After a year, this exhibition finally came to Yogyakarta, Indonesia. From 18 -27 September 2012, it was displayed at the 3rd floor of Agape, Duta Wacana Christian University (UKDW). During the preparation, my students and I discussed my experience in AU17 and we all came to a conclusion that sharing the cultural heritage does not only mean inheriting old traditions but also the contemporary rural and urban customs and traditions practiced by our diverse cultural groups and incorporated into contemporary expressions. We can also further heritage by adding new ideas to old ideas. 

    During the opening ceremony, Mr. Djohan, Rector of UKDW, pointed out the direct link between cultural heritage, development, and peace building. The protection, promotion, and sharing of both tangible and intangible heritage can have a positive impact on the economic, social and peace development of the communities among nations. 

    On this occasion, UKDW's Faculty of Architecture and Design also held one photo exhibition entitled Vastu: Traditional Architecture of Indonesia in light of the recent announcement from UNESCO that the Wae Rebo village in Flores island as new World Heritage Site. Mbaru Niang, the traditional house in the village of Wae Rebo, East Nusa Tenggara province, has received an excellence award from UNESCO during the 2012 Asia Pacific Heritage Awards in Bangkok, Thailand, on 27 August 2012. 

    Last but not least, I would like to express my profound gratitude and my appreciations to ASEF, the Faculty of Architecture and Design, Duta Wacana Christian University, to my students and colleagues, and to all of my AU17 friends. See you in another project in the future.

    Disclaimer: The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author and can not in any circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).

  • Different perspectives on Heritage

    Published on 02 Jul 2012


    Shared Heritage: As we see it – A travelling exhibition recently ended at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum.  The exhibition, which ran at the NUS Museum from 11 May to 13 June, featured multimedia works of participants from the 17th ASEF University (Malaysia 2011) on cultural heritage.

    “The exhibition provides a reflection on how culture and heritage provide a sense of belonging to communities,” says Sallehudin from Malaysia.

    He was one of 22 students from a summer programme, The European Union in Asia – Reflections on European Integration, Institutions and Influence, who visited the exhibition. The summer programme was organised by the European Union Centre (EUC) in Singapore and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore.

    A curatorial tour was given by Ms Nurul Huda from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum, who also encouraged the students to share their perceptions on the display. The diversity of impressions led to an interesting exchange of thoughts.

    Talking about one of the videos (Flows), a student said “I do not understand how a passing boat and ripples on the water can be related to heritage,” to which another student responded, “…it symbolises the passage of time, and what one does here today can have an impact somewhere tomorrow.”

    One of the students, Lien, from Vietnam said “In today’s globalised world, it’s essential that we do not only share economic and political issues, but also understand each other’s culture”.

    The exhibition will travel to the Philippines in July 2012 in time for the 11th Annual Conference and General Meeting of the ASEF University Alumni Network (ASEFUAN).

  • AU17@NUS

    The Singapore leg of “Shared Heritage: As we see it” - A travelling exhibition was officially launched at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum (11 May 2012). The opening was attended by diplomatic corps, artists and students.

    ASEF Governors, representing ASEM member states, visited the Exhibition (19 May 2012) as part of a cultural tour under 28th ASEF Board of Governors Meeting programme. They appreciated the hard work of the participants of the 17th ASEF University (AU17) in putting together this multimedia presentation on cultural heritage. 

    The Governors enjoyed the photos and videos representing the shared cultural heritage of Asia and Europe. They felt it was interesting to see the stories behind each photograph - how the two regions have had an influence on each other and on people’s daily lives.

    On 22 May 2012, a group of students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) visited the Exhibition. They are under the tutelage of Associate Professor Barnard Turner from the NUS. According to one of the students: “The photos were insightful and showed a different aspect of the country that I have not seen before”.

    During their visit, representatives from the Rose Borromeo Spanish Dance School made a presentation on the art of Flamenco - a UNESCO-recognised intangible heritage. Through interactions with the dancers, the students experienced Flamenco’s rhythms and moves.

    In partnership with the NUS Museum, the exhibition went on display until 13 June 2012.  |  See photos of the exhibition here

    AU17 in Sg supporters   |

  • AU17 exhibition: Call for Hosts

    Published on 02 Apr 2012

    1 programme, 2 weeks, 41 participants from 31 countries, several destinations, thousands of spectators. Will YOU be the next?

    The 17th ASEF University (AU17) exhibition, “Shared Heritage: As we see it”, is travelling to several ASEM countries. It started from Penang and Budapest last year followed by Bucharest in January 2012. It will be arriving soon in Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and Indonesia and many more places throughout this year.

    You can bring this experience to your country. To know more click here

  • Contributed by: Ms Irina Paraschivoiu
    (President, Odaia Creativă and AU17 Participant from Romania)

    The opening of the AU17 exhibition in Romania took place under that question mark, while the centre of Bucharest was filled with protesters claiming their rights to democracy, transparency and civic participation.

    That question stayed with me while opening the boxes, holding the pictures in my hands, choosing the order on the walls and getting into a taxi in a very cold day, heading for Radio Romania Cultural – the cultural section of the national Romanian radio. I was supposed to give a 30 minutes interview on our AU17 exhibition opening in Bucharest and, indeed, it seemed like the most inappropriate time to do so.

    Rather than a set of questions and answers, the interview turned into a discussion and, more than that, into a reflection process that I went through during the whole day. Why is it important for a peasant in Romania to know that the mangroves in Sungai Batu support the entire ecosystem of the village? Why is it important for a Malaysian to know there are painted churches in the North of Romania? And what does that mean in the context of the globalised world that we live in? By sharing what we have and who we are, we manage to set aside our views about ourselves – and the others – and to see ourselves from different perspectives.

    We are faced with similarities and differences and, yet, we have the unique possibility of finding better solutions to the common challenges that we face. Our shared challenges.

    The opening of the exhibition also took the shape of a wonderful, inquiring discussion relating heritage to topics such as urbanisation and development, ranging from deep discussion to the curiosity of the “other” – particularly Asia, in our case. After the opening, some of us left together, heading for the protests in the University square. Among others, we were protesting for the protection of the Roşia Montană site – a unique cultural and natural heritage area in Romania, threatened by the possibility of heavy gold exploitation. I’m not sure if you know where that is, but I just thought I should share it with you.

    I would like to thank:

    • The Asia – Europe Foundation, the People to People Exchange Department, for their continuous support and enthusiasm
    • Cărtureşti Cafe Verona for being excellent hosts
    • Radio România Cultural and TVR Cultural for their media support
    • The participants of the opening in Bucharest for their inquisitve mind
    • The participants and organisers of AU17 in Penang, for (still) raising question marks in my mind.

    Disclaimer: The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author and can not in any circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).

  • Shared Heritage and the Individual

    Published on 01 Mar 2012

    Contributed by: Ms Barbara Lukacs

    This blog entry was translated from the original Hungarian version

    Nowadays, in addition to globalisation, finding a common voice and coming to a common understanding has become ever so important. The Exhibition, with its theme Shared Heritage: As we see it attempts to achieve this using a totally unusual rhetoric.
    Seeing myself through the eyes of the others
    To my mind, how we accept a certain point of view relies greatly on our experience of the world thus far. Hence, persuasion builds onto the recognition of differences.
    To ask one’s self: If I am looking for what is different, for what is non-confirming, how will I be able to reconcile this new self-image to what I used to to be?” – invites a deeper introspection into one’s identity.

    For someone like me who contemplates on this kind of argument quite often, it gave me a refreshing, yet powerful impact to have experienced the works of forty-one (41) students and young professionals from 31 countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)  - as they aimed to have a coherent balance between the old and the new.

    Participants of the 17th ASEF University (AU17) entitled ‘Cultural Heritage: Challenges and Opportunities “ were looking for what is common in our human nature, in our culture, habits, and relations to each other. Each photograph is a storyteller about life’s moments captured in a frame. A reminder that at each breath, we get older, and as we exhale the past –  we move towards a new future.

    A magical Cambodian church, a sacred place on a hill or a surprised girl within the bustle of the traditional wedding ceremony – all these were showcased in the pictures.
    The exhibition draws our attention to the common and for all that we should take care of. We are humans, and this is one aspect that we should keep in mind at every turn, and in everything that we think, say and do.

    We ought not to look at ourselves solely as individual entities, but as part of something bigger. Needless to say, preserving and respecting our past affects our future.
    Most items of the exhibition show ingenious parallels. Similarities of people of different cultures or surprising presentation of relations to different symbols such as victory, regardless of gender, culture or religion. (The ancient greek statue of the goddess Nike was the first 3-dimensional piece, and it is very interesting to see  how contemporary cultures portray victory, fortune, and happiness in a similar fashion as the ancient scupltors)

    Amazing is the contrast between human and nature, where we have to realise again that civilization and knowledge does not necessarily lead to ‘good humanity’. It is incredible to see the ravage of flora and fauna especially on a picture which does not show any human at all. A mangrove, rooting in the sea can hold the soil while giving nutrients to planktons which are then prey for bigger animals. It is the ‘human factor’ that caused this race’s evolution. I wonder, when shall we wake up and open to all these?

    The scene of my favorite picture is a street in summer. Like so many works, this is a snapshot, too, the photographer paid attention solely to the eyes of passers-by in the blazing sunshine. The thought behind this picture’s description hit my heart. The photographer – after studying the faces –  divided the people of the street into two types. There were those who kindly took part in this shared moment with a smile, but there were people who just walked by along the dusty alley, not caring about what’s happening around them. We can see how a moment will come alive in two different ways.

    Living through the present corresponds to our relation to the past and future. It means that what we have done it in the past will be used as a basis for what we will do in the future. The photos call for introspection. They present a meaning to 'live for the moment' (or seize your day – ‘Carpe diem’). As I was leaving the exhibition another thought came to my mind. Most of the pictures (if not all) concentrate on the East. As if there was the preservation of traditions and thus the conservation of shared heritage is stronger. This might be in contrast with the globalised North, where we try to create common values, while at the same time, we do not recognise that we bury our own traditions. I wonder, which path is better?

    Conversations amongst the visitors of the opening ceremony elicited different arguments to this question – some of them rather sweeping statements: "Despite everything, I still prefer to live here in the West. In the East for example, there is polygamy and oppression, and instead of having a free choice for my life I have it predetermined."
    Is it possible for a European young man to decide how to relate to the same scenario, as if he or she was – let say – Iranian? I don’t think so.

    And this just because we're so far away from each other. Instead of focusing on differences we have to concentrate to our common heritage –  as the exhibition did it quite eloquently. We ought to find a common denominator somehow like we all begin to explore the forgotten past. And this can be the way into a world with less hatred.

    Disclaimer: The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author and can not in any circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).

  • Seeing beyond the exhibition

    Published on 14 Feb 2012

    Contributed by: Alexandra Graff (AU17 Participant, Budapest)

    First of all I would say, the programme, the participants, the organisers and every moment of 17th ASEF University (AU17) made it one of the
    most exciting experience in my life.

    It was an honour to have worked and cooperated with the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) through its People-to-People Exchange (P2P) Department on having Budapest as the first destination of the travelling exhibition.

    It was so encouraging to get that much support from Mr Joel Bassig and ASEF for the logistics and overall management of the exhibition, and special attention from the embassies of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) countries in Hungary, as well as the support of the Hungarian media.

    When I saw and held those pictures again in my hands, I relived the experience and the time when I was in Malaysia with my AU17 friends. It was great that Petko Karadechev (AU17, Bulgaria) could open the exhibition, and that Lucia Simaskova (AU17, Slovakia) took the time to visit. Our small reunion made us feel as though we were transported back to Penang – at the very place were our friendship began.

    It was not just the 3 of us there. The presence of those who were involved in putting this exhibition together was greatly felt in the halls of Vizrakter – through their thoughts written on small pieces of paper, their work, and their creativity. Moreover, my sincerest gratitude goes to Vizrakter for generously welcoming the exhibition with open arms.

    It was most rewarding to hear that the visitors, who had no background knowledge on the programme and its aim, have had very similar opinions and feelings as we had. This is a great confirmation for all of us that the exhibition has indeed faithfully conveyed the message of how we – 41 participants from 31 countries – see Shared Heritage.

    Disclaimer: The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author and can not in any circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).

    Click here to contact Alexandra |  See the photos  |  Watch the video  

    AU17 Budapest Launch_Alex and Petko

  • AU17 Traveling Exhibition


    AU17's traveling exhibition "Shared Heritage: As we see it" is now open for public viewing in Bucharest, Romania (Cărtureşti Café Verona, Arthur Verona Street, no. 13-15).

    Photos of the exhibit's launch will be posted here soon. For inquiries, please contact Mr Joel Bassig (ASEF) or Ms Irina Paraschvoiu (Romania).

  • AU17 Traveling Exhibition - Budapest launch

    The photo and video exhibition Shared Heritage: As we see it, curated by the 17th ASEF University (AU17) participants, is now traveling to various ASEM countries. The first destination of its Asia-Europe tour is Budapest, Hungary, and was launched on 01 December 2011 at Vizraker Kiraly Furdo 1027 Budapest, Fo Str. 84.

    ASEF would like to thank Ms Alexandra Graff (AU17 participant from Hungary), for her efforts in putting together the Budapest launch of the exhibition.


    Our gratitude also goes to Vizrakter Kiraly Furdo, for its generosity in hosting the exhibition within its premises.


     Click here for photos of the launch. For inquiries, please email  Mr Joel Bassig.


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