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In May 2008 the Ministers of Education in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) countries convened in Berlin for the first time to discuss how cooperation in higher education between the two continents could be strengthened (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, May 2008). At their second meeting, in Hanoi in May 2009, the ASEM Education Ministers decided to create a rotating ASEM Education Secretariat and welcomed Germany’s proposal to host it for four years (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, May 2009). The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has been commissioned with this task. The ASEM Education Secretariat has officially taken up its work in September 2009. Its main assignment is to provide administrative, advisory, and analytical support to the ASEM Education Process, i.e. the ASEM Education Ministers’ Meetings, which will be held every two years from now on.
In parallel, at the stakeholders’ level, the ASEM Rectors’ Conference Process is advancing. The ASEM Education Ministers recognised in their recent meeting that the ASEM Education Hub (AEH), an initiative under the Asia-Europe Foundation, should become the permanent secretariat of all future ASEM Rectors’ Conferences, which would also be held at two-year intervals. AEH will carry out this task with its partners, the European University Association (EUA) and the ASEAN University Network.
With such substantial backing for higher education cooperation between Europe and Asia, the 43 ASEM countries will certainly continue to move closer together in the future.