Facilitating dialogue on arts and cultural policies as well as issues of mutual relevance and common interest for Asia and Europe has been a key priority for the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), since its inception in 1997 by member governments of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
In 2012, which marks the 15th anniversary of the Foundation, policy dialogue initiatives will focus on heritage, creative industries, cultural infrastructure and the role of culture in development. These initiatives will bring together both government officials and civil society representatives in keeping with ASEF’s role as a neutral multi-stakeholder dialogue platform.
Focus on heritage
Cultural heritage management remains a key priority for governments and civil society in Asia and Europe. The upcoming 5th ASEM Culture Ministers’ Meeting (September 2012, Indonesia) will focus on “Managing Heritage Cities for a Sustainable Future”. It will build on discussions relating to the challenges of heritage management begun at the 4th edition of the Culture Ministers’ Meeting (September 2010, Poland), which also acknowledged the significant role of non-governmental stakeholders in heritage.
Heritage as an area of common interest for civil societies in Asia and Europe was reaffirmed at the 2nd Experts’ Meeting on Cultural Policy, organised in Melbourne in October 2011.
In July 2012, ASEF will co-organise a Public Forum and Experts’ Meeting, “Managing Heritage Cities in Asia and Europe: the role of Public-Private Partnerships” to channel civil society inputs to the 5th ASEM CMM, in the form of recommendations and good practices. Facilitating such bi-directional dialogue between heritage professionals in Asia and Europe aims to stimulate collective reflection and knowledge sharing, while also serving as an engine and vehicle of civil society contacts. By further aligning this dialogue with the overall intergovernmental ASEM dialogue and including policymakers in the discussions, ASEF reaffirms its role as a conduit between civil society and governments.
Exploring culture and development
Another area of focus emerged in response to the growing acknowledgement of the role of culture in development. The Connect2Culture programme, which has been exploring the intersection between the arts and climate change in recent years, will investigate the role of culture in sustainable human development through dialogue platforms in 2012 and beyond.
Creating dialogue platforms
ASEF will continue to facilitate broad multi-stakeholder dialogue on issues of mutual relevance in arts and culture for Asia and Europe through the third edition of its annual series of Experts’ Meeting on Cultural Policy in 2012. The series, launched in Seoul in 2011, has brought together over 40 civil and governmental experts in two meetings in 2011. Heritage, creative industries and arts education were three topics identified by participating experts for further dialogue in 2012.
Supporting cultural policy research
The Experts’ Meeting series complements ASEF’s support to the global cultural research platform, WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies, which aims to significantly enhance access to current information and analyses on the cultural policies and trends of ASEM countries.
Facilitating information exchange
In addition to supporting cultural policy research, information exchange on relevant policy areas in arts and culture is facilitated through culture360.org as well as publications. Specially commissioned features and interviews on cultural policy will be featured on this portal throughout the year. ASEF’s most recent publication in the field of cultural policy is Mapping Cultural Diversity-Good Practices from around the Globe, which profiles 39 innovative projects that protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions in different parts of the world, including 17 from Asia and Europe.