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On 5-6 May 2008, the eyes of education stakeholders in the 43 ASEM countries were on Berlin, which was the stage for the first ASEM Education Ministers meeting (for acronym-loving Don Quixotes: ASEM stands for the Asia-Europe Meeting, which is an informal dialogue process initiated in 1996). The meeting was chaired by the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Dr. Annette Schavan. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) was also actively involved in the organisational and thematic preparation of the event, which was co-sponsored by China, Denmark and Japan.
The discussions focussed on strengthening EU-Asian cooperation in higher education by building strategic partnerships as well as on enhancing employability and lifelong learning by bringing together education and the labour market. The Ministers of Education agreed on a further dialogue between Asia and Europe in the field of education and training. The Asian countries showed particular interest in the implementation of the Bologna process in Europe.
The next ASEM conference of Ministers of Education will take place in 2009 in Hanoi, Vietnam.