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Europe – Asia Center

Europe – Asia Center Hosting the Inaugural Session of the Europe-Asia Integration and Connectivity Symposium

Brussels/Beijing, May 12th, 2024

On Saturday, 11th of May, the Europe-Asia Center, in collaboration with Pangoal Institute, hosted the inaugural session of the landmark Europe-Asia Integration and Connectivity Symposium, held in Beijing, China.

In the first part of the symposium, distinguished thought leaders, policymakers, and artists gathered for dynamic panel discussions and delivered illuminating keynote addresses on the topics of arts, education, and women's empowerment.

Among the esteemed speakers were H.E. Erik Solheim, Co-chair of the Europe-Asia Center and former UN Undersecretary-General; H.E. Jean de Ruyt, Co-chair of the Europe-Asia Center and former Belgian Ambassador to the EU and UN; H.E. Irina Bokova, former Director General of UNESCO; Madame Sheila Arora, Vice-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center, Professor Wei Shen, Vice-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center, and Yan Rui, Secretary General of the Europe-Asia Center.

Additionally, the summit welcomed prominent guests including Yi Peng, Chairman of the Pangoal Institute; H.E. Xia Hua, Deputy to the National People's Congress; H.E. Zhang Gu, former Deputy Secretary-General of the Sichuan Provincial Government; Li Guanru, founder of L3 Branding; Wang Weiqi, bestselling science fiction author; and Wang Yue, Secretary General of the Pangoal Institute, who all enriched the discourse with their invaluable insights.

In their discussions, the panellists emphasized the critical role of arts and education in bridging Europe and Asia, and underscored the need for increased funding and collaboration on joint projects in these areas. Notably, Madame Bokova highlighted the importance of promoting STEAM education—science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

In the afternoon, the symposium focused on international development strategies for Chinese enterprises. The discussions, featuring high-caliber guest speakers such as H.E. Bruno Angelet, Belgian Ambassador to China; H.E. Zhu Rui, former Assistant Minister of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China; and Christiane Prange, Visiting Professor at Zhejiang University School of Business, were both insightful and highly relevant. Distinguished board members of the Europe-Asia Center and Pangoal Institute further enriched the dialogue.

Chinese businesses demonstrated significant interest in the symposium, with notable attendees including Zhao Hejuan, founder of TMT Post; Mei Xiangrong, Global Partner at Yingke Law Firm; Mao Daqing, founder of Ucommune; Fu Sheng, chairman of Cheetah Mobile; Bai Yunfeng, chairman of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation; and Zhou Xicheng, chairman of Langjing Environmental Technology Ltd.

Companies shared best practices in their internationalization strategies and discussed lessons learned. Mr. Solheim emphasized the crucial role of business in not only fostering closer ties between Europe and Asia but also promoting the green transition and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A particular highlight was a virtual presentation by Lisa Lang, Director of Policy at Climate-KIC, on the EU's green legislation. This provided Chinese entrepreneurs with essential insights for entering the European market.

Mr. Matic Gajsek, Director for Europe at the Europe-Asia Center, showed great satisfaction at the outcomes of the symposium, noting: "Seeing the outcome of this symposium has made me incredibly happy. I am looking forward to making this an annual event and expanding it even further next year, reaching wider parts of East Asia. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all the guests and panellists who made this event such a success."

For press enquiries:

Jonathan Schwestka, Project Coordinator, Europe – Asia Center


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