The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was launched in 1996 to further cooperation between Asia and Europe. Singapore is an initiator and founding member of ASEM and ASEM was conceived by then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong as a platform to strengthen links between Asia and Europe. The three main pillars of ASEM cooperation are political, economic and socio-cultural cooperation. Since its inaugural summit in 1996, ASEM has grown from the initial 26 to 53 partners today. A total of 12 Summits have taken place. 


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, attended the 12th ASEM Summit in Brussels, Belgium from 18 to 19 October 2018. The theme of the Summit was “Global partners for Global Challenges”. At the Summit, Leaders exchanged views on global and regional issues of mutual interest, and discussed how to strengthen Asia-Europe cooperation as well as the future direction of ASEM. Prime Minister Lee spoke on the importance of strengthening the multilateral framework and how to improve connectivity between Europe and Asia, including through cybersecurity collaboration.

Minister Balakrishnan also attended the 13th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar from 20 to 21 November 2017.

More information on ASEM can be found at


Located in Singapore, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) was established under the aegis of ASEM in February 1997 to promote greater mutual understanding between Asia and Europe through intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Through ASEF, civil society concerns are incorporated into deliberations of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). ASEF has engaged over 17,000 direct participants through more than 600 projects in the realms of governance and human rights, economy and society, sustainable development and environment, public health, arts and culture and academic co-operation and education. 

More information on ASEF can be found at


Under the ASEM DUO Fellowship Fund, the DUO-Singapore Exchange Fellowship is awarded by the Singapore government to fund several pairs of student exchanges a year between students from Singapore universities and students from universities of European ASEM countries. The fund aims to promote student exchanges between European and Asian ASEM members. To date, students from faculties including accountancy, biological sciences, business, economics, engineering and law, have benefited from the programme.

More information on the award can be found at

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