On Thursday, March 24, 2022, MEPEI (Middle East Political and Economic Institute) and EuroDefense Romania, in partnership with IFIMES (International Institute for the Middle East and Balkan Studies), ICI Bucharest (National Institute for Research & Development in Informatics), and AIES (Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy), organized the conference for the launch of the international project “Asia’s Century” 2022 – 2027. Moreover, in terms of media partners, the project benefits from the support of the digital news channel Financial Intelligence.
This project aims to facilitate communication and cooperation among EU countries and countries from Asia. It is also aimed at overcoming barriers generated by the current pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine crisis, as well as contributing to resuming direct interinstitutional and human contacts.
In an attempt to connect participants in a live event, the conference was developed through a hybrid format, with participants engaging in face-to-face conversations in the Panoramic Conference Hall of the Marshal Garden Hotel in Bucharest, while a part of the audience joined through the online Zoom platform. Nevertheless, the live meeting benefitted from a significant presence of over 20 ambassadors and diplomatic representatives accredited in Romania (Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE), and over 40 participants including academics, Romanian diplomats, business people, researchers, and mass-media.
Overall, the representatives of the organizing think-tanks promoted the idea that the EU needs to work towards an in-depth understanding of Asia, and that Asia also needs to enhance its knowledge of the EU.
These thematic strands were addressed from manifold perspectives by the keynote speakers:
• Prof. Anis BAJREKTAREVIC, Department Head for Strategic Studies on Asia, International Institute for the Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES), IFIMES Permanent Representation to Austria and Vienna-based IOs;
• Dr. Werner FASSLABEND, President, the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES), President EuroDefense Austria, and former Minister of Defense of Austria (1990-2000), Austria – Online intervention;
• Prof. Teodor MELEȘCANU, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs – Online intervention;
• Prof. Adrian SEVERIN, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs;
• Amb. Viorel ISTICIOAIA-BUDURA, career diplomat, former Ambassador of Romania to People’s Republic of China, Mongolia, Republic of Korea. As an European official, was Head of the Asia-Pacific Department with European External Action Service and Ambassador of the EU to Japan – Online intervention;
• Dr. Alexandru GEORGESCU, Scientific Researcher ICI Bucharest, Strategic Analyst, Secretary General EuroDefense Romania. The event was moderated by Dr. Liviu MUREŞAN, President of EuroDefense Romania.
Please find attached below the FULL REPORT with the key messages conveyed during the launch of the project.