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Looking back and looking ahead: The ASEM education process – history and vision (2008-2018)

A. Angress, S. Wuttig (eds.), Looking back and looking ahead: The ASEM education process – history and vision (2008-2018), Lemmens Medien GmbH: Bonn-Berlin, 2018 This publication, which came out in time for the ASEM Meeting and ASEF’s Young Leaders Forum, both held earlier this month in Brussels, analyses, in considerable detail, the history of educational cooperation between the Asian and the European members of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and tries to assess its future possibilities. The over 250-page volume was edited by Alexandra Angress and Siegbert Wuttig. The tome consists of about 20 articles by a wide range of often prominent contributors. The history of ASEM, but particularly that of educational cooperation within it, is described in considerable detail, including the meetings of the ASEM education ministers, the role of the rotating ASEM Education Secretariat (AES; Germany, 2009-2013; Indonesia, 2013-2017; Belgium, 2017-2021) and the only permanent institution of ASEM, the Asia-Europe Foundation (AEF). 

In their executive summary, the editors draw conclusions. On the one hand, they point out the achievements of the process, of which the regularly-held ASEM Rectors’ Conferences and Students’ Fora (ARC) are just one example. On the other hand, they indicate that the decision-making processes based on informality and consensus rather than an institutionalised approach might have stood in the way of more tangible outcomes. Though ambivalent in their judgement, the impression is that they believe ASEM education cooperation needs more solid steering.