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  • Europe – Asia Center: H.E. Erik Solheim in high-level dialogue with China’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, H.E. Ambassador Liu Zhenmin

    Brussels, March 15th, 2024 His Excellency Erik Solheim, Co-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center, engaged in fruitful discussions with His Excellency Ambassador Liu Zhenmin, China’s newly appointed Special Envoy for Climate Change, during his recent visit to China, marking a significant moment in international climate diplomacy. The meeting, held in Beijing, provided a platform to address pressing climate-related issues and to foster dialogue on the future of EU-China climate cooperation. Mr. Solheim extended warm congratulations to his long-time colleague Mr. Liu on his new role, expressing confidence in China’s climate diplomacy under his leadership. Shared concerns regarding the pace of progress towards fulfilling the Paris Agreement were discussed, with both parties reaffirming their commitment to achieving tangible results in line with the Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Discussions spanned a range of topics, including the climate roadmap towards the upcoming Baku conference, China’s leadership in green energy, and the transformative potential of hydropower and hydrogen in conjunction with solar and wind energy solutions. Mr. Solheim’s steadfast advocacy for multi-stakeholder engagement and the strong involvement of the private sector and civil society in the global struggle against climate change was not only discussed but demonstrated in practice, with the active participation of Europe – Asia Center’s Secretary General Rui Yan and delegations from the International Hydropower Association and Green Hydrogen Organization. The high-level dialogue underscores the paramount importance of nurturing diplomatic and societal ties between the EU and China, reflecting a shared commitment to fostering resilient and mutually beneficial partnerships – in the field of climate change and beyond. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Press release: Advancing Global Sustainable Development through promoting the values of Human Fraternity

    Abu Dhabi -Brussels – 14th February 2024 On February 4th and 5th 2024, Europe-Asia Center hosted the landmark 2024 Summit on “Human Fraternity as a Catalyst for Global Sustainable Development,” held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Building upon the legacy of the esteemed Zayed Award for Human Fraternity, the summit convened on the UN International Day of Human Fraternity, underscoring the pivotal role of interconnected faith dynamics in driving sustainable progress worldwide. Distinguished thought leaders, policymakers, and activists convened to engage in dynamic panel discussions and deliver illuminating keynote addresses. Among the esteemed speakers were H.E. Erik Solheim, Co-chair of the Europe-Asia Center and former UN Deputy Secretary-General, H.E. Violeta Bulc, Vice-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center and former EU Commissioner for Transport and Mobility, and Venerable Master Jijing, leader of faith and Cultural consultant of the Europe – Asia Center. In addition, the summit welcomed esteemed guests including H.E. Madame Irina Bokova, former UNESCO Director-General, Ms. Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil (“Shamsa Mama”), peace mediator, community mobilizer and 2023 Lauret of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity, H.E. Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, General Secretary of Muslim Elders, and Honourable Nirmal Sethia, renowned businessman and philanthropist, who enriched the discourse with their invaluable insights. Under the moderation of Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe at the Europe-Asia Center, and prof. Shen Wei, Vice-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center, discussions centered on the imperative of cross-cultural dialogue in fostering sustainable development on a global scale. Panellists reflected on the transcendental values that may serve as the foundation for constructive collaboration in an increasingly interconnected world, and emphasized the urgent need for increased collaborative efforts to unite diverse peoples, societies, and nations, and cultivate a sense of universal brotherhood. Delving into the symbiotic relationship between faith traditions and sustainable development goals, panellists championed innovative approaches to address contemporary challenges. From ethical frameworks for environmental conservation to strategies for poverty eradication, inclusive societal growth, and climate action, the summit challenged conventional paradigms, advocating for holistic solutions rooted in faith, empathy and understanding. Participants also offered actionable insights on fostering business cooperation to combat climate change, reflecting the summit’s commitment to driving real-world impact. Inspired by the principles of the Human Fraternity document for ‘World Peace and Living Together’, participants cultivated a “friendly and fraternal atmosphere where [they] shared the joys, sorrows and problems of our contemporary world”, reflecting on actionable pathways towards “thriving together”, core ethos of the Europe-Asia Center. About the Europe-Asia Center The Europe-Asia Center is an independent, not-for-profit organization promoting Asia-Europe relations by connecting professionals, institutions, organizations and networks across all sectors. Through implementation of projects, including conferences, workshops, cultural events, publications, educational and research programs, the mission of the Europe- Asia Center is to connect people and knowledge across continents. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Europe – Asia Center: High-level dialogue on EU-Vietnam relations with Ambassador Nguyen Van Thao

    Brussels, January 30th, 2024 On the occasion of the Lunar New Year – Tet Celebration, Her Excellency Dr. hc. Madame Violeta Bulc, Vice-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center, along with Mr. Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe of the Europe-Asia Center, engaged in a high-level dialogue with His Excellency Nguyen Van Thao, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Mission of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to the European Union, to discuss the current state and prospects of EU-Vietnam relations. During a recent exchange, Ambassador Nguyen Van Thao shared the previous exchanges between the Vietnamese embassy and the Europe – Asia Center, under the leadership of Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel. Madame Bulc reaffirmed the center’s commitment to foster dialogue and exchanges across sectors between Europe and Vietnam. Ambassador Nguyen Van Thao underscored the importance of EU – Vietnam dialogue and exchanges, specifically in area of promotion of the international cooperation in climate change and green transition. Specifically interest of Vietnam for promoting closer cooperation in area of high-tech investment, green hydrogen export and added value production. Areas which Vietnam can play a vital role in supporting the climate ambitions by the EU. Ambassador furthermore emphasized the importance of strengthening the cultural exchanges and activities that would promote greater exchanges. Madame Bulc reflected on her past experiences of collaboration with Vietnam and the ASEAN region during her tenure as the EU Commissioner for Transport and Mobility. She emphasized the need for promoting stronger exchanges and collaboration, two areas where the Europe – Asia Center can contribute to the work of the respected diplomatic mission. Both parties shared the mutual commitment to strengthening the relationship between the Vietnamese diplomatic mission and the Europe – Asia Center. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Europe – Asia Center: H.E. Dr. hc. Violeta Bulc in high-level dialogue with Ambassador Fu Cong, China Mission to the EU

    Brussels, January 30th, 2024 On the occasion of the Lunar New Year celebration, Her Excellency Dr. hc. Madame Violeta Bulc, Vice-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center, along with Mr. Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe of the Europe-Asia Center, engaged in a high-level dialogue with His Excellency Mr. Fu Cong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Head of Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union, to discuss the current state and prospects of EU-China relations. During the exchange, Ambassador Fu Cong commended the longstanding friendship and cooperation between the Europe-Asia Center and the Chinese Mission, reaffirming his commitment to its continuation, sentiments echoed by Madame Bulc, who also expressed her dedication to fostering the ongoing relationship. Ambassador Fu Cong underscored the significant importance China places on its relationship with the EU, emphasizing the multitude of shared interests and global challenges necessitating close collaboration. He categorically rejected any notion of rivalry between China and the EU, expressing hope for an increased focus on the partnership aspect of their relationship. Madame Bulc emphasized the necessity for innovative approaches and multilateral cooperation to overcome historical legacies and tackle global challenges. She stressed the importance of building trust between the EU and China, highlighting the potential for collaboration to address numerous global challenges, specifically in domain of climate change. While acknowledging the gradual transition into a multipolar world, Madame Bulc expressed optimism in China’s ability to remain a cooperative partner, which would be most effective in reshaping prevailing narratives and overcoming fear-based paradigms. Both parties reiterated their unwavering commitment to strengthening and deepening their relationship, with a shared dedication to addressing international challenges and fostering stability, sustainability, peace, and prosperity. The high-level dialogue underscores the significance of nurturing diplomatic and societal ties between the EU and China, reflecting the mutual desire of both parties to building robust and constructive partnerships. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Erik Solheim, Co-Chair of the Europe – Asia Center awarded the prestigious 2023 Chinese Government Friendship Award

    Brussels, February 4th, 2024 The Co-Chair of the Europe – Asia Center, Excellency Erik Solheim, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as well as Vice Chairman of the International Green Development Coalition under the Belt and Road Initiative, was honoured with the 2023 Chinese Government Friendship Award. This distinguished accolade was presented to Excellency Erik Solheim by Chinese Prime Minister Mr Li Qiang. The Chinese Government Friendship Award is an honour established by the Chinese government to commend foreign experts working in China, who have made significant contributions to China’s reform and development. During his tenure as Executive Director of UNEP from 2016 to 2018, Erik Solheim facilitated the signing of a cooperative document between China and UNEP on building a Green Belt and Road and promoted the establishment of the International Green Development Coalition under the Belt and Road Initiative. These initiatives significantly enhanced international collaboration of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in environmental domain globally. In recent interview for CCTV’s “Face to Face”, Mr. Solheim shared China’s global leadership in the field of green technology. He pointed out that China accounts for 60% to 80% of the global market in solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, electric vehicles, and buses. He furthermore emphasized the need to encourage these technologies and enterprises to invest and trade more with developing countries. Excellency Solheim was particularly impressed by the transformation in Anji, Zhejiang, and the development of hydropower resources in the Yalong River, Sichuan. These cases not only demonstrate a profound shift in China’s development philosophy but also highlight China’s key role in the global green transition. He believes that with its advantages in new energy vehicles and clean energy technologies, China is fully capable of leading the global green transition, achieving a win-win situation for economic growth and environmental protection. As Chairman of the Europe-Asia Center, Erik Solheim has not only deepened the dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe but also injected new vitality into global prosperity. His contributions have set a model for cooperation between China and Europe in the field of green development and provided valuable experiences and insights for countries worldwide to jointly face environmental challenges and promote sustainable development. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Europe – Asia Center joins the Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics & Ecological Alliance Cooperation

    Paris, February 1st, 2023 On January 29, 2024, the preparatory meeting for the launch of the “Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics & Ecological Alliance” in partnership between Yu Yuan Group, Europe – Asia Center and European Institute For Comparative Urban Research (EURICUR). Europe – Asia Center was represented by Madame Sheila Arora, vice-chair, Matic Gajsek, director for Europe and May Ma, Director of the Cultural Communication. Exploring the theme of “In Harmony with Nature, Linking Friends Across Mountains and Seas”, Madame Sheila Arora, on behalf of the Europe – Asia Center, Prof. Jan van der Borg, Director of EURICUR, and Junjie Hu, Vice President of Yu Yuan Group, signed a cooperation agreement to establish the Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics Ecological Alliance. This alliance aims at connecting a range of organizations and enterprises in the Culture and Creative industries, specifically in domain of fashion, as well as culture and creative tourism, connecting it with investment and market opportunities in Europe and China. Alliance’s vision is to foster an Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics Ecological Circle based on the mutual understanding of civilizations, the coexistence of cultures, and the development of industrial co-creativity. Mr. Junjie Hu from Yu Yuan Group highlighted Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics being among the “beauties of life”, discovered by Chinese people in different historical periods, of different classes and embodying a variety of perspectives. In an open and diverse world, Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics has become the vocabulary for China’s in-depth communication and interaction with people around the globe. Over the last few years Chinese enterprises, represented by Yu Yuan Group, have been actively practicing Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics, enhancing the industry’s cultural depth. For example, the Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival, a national legacy project in China, has gone abroad and lit up the night sky of Paris, becoming a popular leisure event for the local people. Similarly, the landmark of Shanghai’s urban cultural and tourism industry, the Grand Yuyuan District is introducing European fashion resources to promote the city’s diverse characteristics, and to create a humanistic neighborhood where the East and the West meet together. Madame Sheila Arora emphasized that cooperation between Europe – Asia Center, Yu Yuan Group and EURICUR once again reflects the importance of dialogues between China and Europe. Cultural exchanges and cultural and tourism industries are not only a driving force for economic prosperity, but also a means to deepen the mutual understanding. In the current context of regional inequality and cultural barriers, Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics presents a constructive solution by prioritizing humanistic communication, industrial interaction and the quality of life for citizens around the globe. We are pleased to see that Yu Yuan Group is continuously building high-quality cultural and tourism industry products by leveraging its rich industrial foundation and cultural resources. The Europe Asia Center will also facilitate communication and collaboration among industry stakeholders, governments, non-for profit organizations and at various levels, so as to contribute to the establishment of the Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics system. Prof. Jan van der Borg highlighted the significance of sustainable development, which has garnered widespread support in European countries. Concept that encompasses ecological friendliness, energy innovation, environmental responsibility, and the preservation of cultural heritage. Yu Yuan Group’s strategy for Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics not only centers on culture but also emphasizes the integration of cultural styles with industrial scenarios. It serves as an exemplary case study for society’s sustainable development and aligns seamlessly with the trajectory of Sino-European dialogue. The ongoing construction in the Grand Yuyuan District is both dynamic and challenging. EURICUR is eager to contribute its expertise to elevate the distinct identity of this century-old cultural district in terms of residential, cultural, and industrial spaces. The goal is to transform it into a benchmark for comparative studies between Chinese and European cities. Xiang Feng, Director of the EURICUR Shanghai Branch and Liling Li, Director of the Institute for Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics Research at Yu Yuan Group presented an overview of the collaborative project-the design and production of the Oriental Lifestyle Aesthetics Experience Guide. Focused on inbound tourism to Shanghai, the guide integrates rich Eastern aesthetic scenes and popular landmarks, providing a distinctive Oriental aesthetic experience for incoming visitors with a user-friendly, visually appealing format. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • The Europe – Asia Center in 2024: Bridging Horizons – Embracing Dialogue for a Sustainable Future

    Positioning paper on the vision of the Europe – Asia Center, written by Ambassador Jean De Ruyt and H.E. Erik Solheim Ambassador Jean De Ruyt and H.E. Erik Solheim, the Co-Chairs of the Europe – Asia Center With recent developments around the globe, it has become virtually impossible to anticipate with precision what will happen in 2024. From the war in Ukraine and Gaza, the ‘super-election’ year in so many countries involving nearly half of the world’s population, it is yet to be seen who will be at the steering wheel to navigate nations through such turbulent times. In Asia, the election year started with the elections in Bangladesh and Taiwan, to be followed by India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Pakistan. As an international non-profit organization based at the heart of Europe, we will continue to follow the election developments on both the national level and European elections, resulting in the appointment of a new European Commission leadership at the end of 2024. Belgium is leading the presidency of the European Council in the first half of 2024, followed by Hungary in the second. The key legislative agenda will need to be concluded in the first months of the year, yet many Directives and Regulations are still in discussion, becoming a pressing issue in reaching agreements due to the European election in early June. The announcement of the European Council president, Charles Michel, to renounce his post mid-year and to compete for a seat in the European Parliament is a sign that the campaign has already begun. The Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, is very conscious of the need to keep active the dialogue with Asia and started his presidency with an official visit to Beijing on January 10. Such high-level visits, including the visit to Beijing by the president of the European Commission in December, are being closely analysed by our Center. Policies, including the ‘de-risking’ of the relationship with China and the imbalance in trade with the EU, are indeed the current hot topics of interest. We at the Europe-Asia Center have resolutely decided that these differences should be approached by dialogue and not by emulating those who, mainly in the United States, seem to be tempted by a new ‘cold war.’ November 5 is a key date in the year with the world following closely the primaries in the US and the election of the new president which will obviously have a significant influence on the world’s stage. Should Donald Trump return to the White House, the agenda will be very different to a US under a second term for Joe Biden. We have to be prepared, in Europe as well as in Asia, for the two alternatives. Political developments have not been the only concern to the global outlook. In the past year, our wonderful Planet Earth has borne witness to an unprecedented number of natural disasters, ranging from devastating wildfires in Europe and Canada to floods in Pakistan and cyclones in Myanmar. Globally, fossil fuels were endowed with over $7 trillion in subsidies last year alone, translating to a staggering $11 million every minute. 2023 was the hottest year on record. Despite these disconcerting realities, we need to have hope for the political economy. Change is historically slow until there is a convergence, often with no warning. We are in the early days of the renewable revolution, one that will certainly take place. Two pivotal shifts in the trajectory of global climate action have emerged since the UN climate talks in Bali in 2007. Firstly, the scale and scope of these conferences have dramatically changed. What started as a gathering of a few thousand diplomats intensely focused on negotiated texts has now grown into a gathering of over 100,000 people in Dubai. Business is now perhaps the main driver of change. With the cost reduction of solar and wind energy by 90% over the last decade it is the ‘political economy, stupid,’ if we paraphrase the quote of President Bill Clinton. The second notable shift is geopolitical. Where we previously recommended Brussels, Berlin, or Paris for exemplifying environmental practices, the tide has shifted towards Beijing, Delhi, and Jakarta. With China leading in over 60% of all green markets, Prime Minister Modi launching green missions by the day, and Indonesia achieving zero deforestation in 2022, our extensive engagements throughout China, India and the ASEAN region leave us in awe of the great strides being made. It is a clear demonstration of a shift in emphasis from diplomatic discussions to a focus on the political economy, also from Europe to Asia. But the transition requires active engagement, given the multitude of obstacles on the path to a greener and fairer world. It’s a no-brainer that if we wish to solve the major issues of our time – climate and environment, poverty and unemployment, wars in Ukraine, the Middle East, and beyond – we need more, not less, global cooperation. The foundation for a lasting global order in 2024 and beyond rests on two fundamental principles: mutual respect and dialogue. Rejecting a zero-sum worldview is essential; the ascent of China over the last 40 years benefits not only the Chinese but humanity as a whole. Embracing a new global order demands genuine collaboration and respect between major players such as China, the US, India, the European Union, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and Russia. To achieve civilisational prosperity, the Europe-Asia Center is committed to empowering relationships between the communities of Europe and Asia. We have to work on forward-thinking initiatives that can deliver tangible benefits, contributing to the prosperity of the world, of everyone.

  • High-level dialogue on EU – China relations between H.E. Erik Solheim and Ambassador Fu Ying

    Brussels, May 18th, 2023 The Europe-Asia Center proudly hosted a high-level dialogue between vice-chair H.E. Erik Solheim, former UN Deputy Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme, and Ambassador Fu Ying, former Vice Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. The virtual event revolved around prospects of China-EU relations in the multilateral world. Excellency Solheim and Ambassador Fu Ying concluded dialogue with a key emphasis on the need for fostering bridge-building and mutual understanding. Europe – Asia Center’s director Ms Rui Yan and deputy director Matic Gajsek furthermore presented center’s ongoing projects and discussed synergies of collaboration between the center and Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS) of Tsinghua University. About Fu Ying Fu Ying served as Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, firstly responsible for the European Affairs and then for Asian Affairs (2009-2013). As a renowned senior diplomat, she started her career with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1978 and had long engaged in Asian affairs. She was appointed as Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines (1998-2000), Director General of the Asian Department of MFA (2000-2003), Ambassador to Australia (2003-2006), and Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2006-2009). Fu Ying was elected deputy to China’s 12th (2013) and then 13th (2018) National People’s Congress (NPC) and served as Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee and spokesperson of the 12th NPC. She now serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s 13th National People’s Congress. Ambassador Fu Ying is the founder of the Center for International Security and Strategy of Tsinghua University (CISS), where she holds the post of Chairperson.

  • Press Release: Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel stepping down from his position as the chairman of the Europe – Asia Center

    Brussels – January 18th, 2024 The Europe – Asia Center announces that chairman Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel is stepping down from his position. As one of the founding members, Ambassador (ret.) Steel has played a vital role in establishing the Center, advocating for stronger dialogue between Europe and Asia throughout the years. He is now moving on to pursue the mission of international dialogue and inclusion as a member of the Executive Board of Special Olympics International in Washington D.C., a global organisation championing social inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. The entire Board, founding members and management team of the Europe – Asia Center express their deepest gratitude to Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel for his unwavering commitment and leadership during his tenure. With this change, I am delighted to announce that Ambassador Jean De Ruyt and H.E. Erik Solheim will take on the roles of Co-Chairs. Both bring extensive experience in international affairs and Europe – Asia cooperation, and we are confident that their vision and leadership will steer the Europe – Asia Center to new heights. Upon his departure, Ambassador (ret.) Steel shared: “I retire as Chairman of the Europe Asia Center not without sadness. Despite significant achievements since its founding, the Center still has enormous growth potential in fostering relations between Europe and Asia, diversifying into countries such as Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and others. I am confident they will successfully raise the Center to a new stage in its development.  I wish my successors, co-chairs Ambassador De Ruyt and H.E. Erik Solheim, every success in expanding the Center further, making it sustainable and an accepted partner in a world full of geopolitical challenges”. About the Europe-Asia Center The Europe-Asia Center is an independent, not-for-profit organization promoting Asia-Europe relations by connecting professionals, institutions, organizations and networks across all sectors. Through implementation of projects, including conferences, workshops, cultural events, publications, educational and research programs, the mission of the Europe- Asia Center is to connect people and knowledge across continents. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Europe – Asia Center: Annual General Assembly meeting – December 20, 2023

    Brussels – Hanoi – Beijing December 20th, 2023 Concluding the calendar year of 2023, the Europe-Asia Center’s board organized the Annual General Assembly Meeting, under the leadership of Chairman Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel. In his opening address to the board members, Ambassador (ret.) Steel announced the center’s structural changes and invited Director Matic Gajsek to update on the progress of the new strategic positioning. Director Matic Gajsek presented the annual activities report for 2023 along with a tentative financial report and projections for 2024. He further elaborated on the center’s ongoing efforts toward establishing the new strategic positioning. In attendance were esteemed board members Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel, H.E. Erik Solheim, H.E. Dr. hc. Violeta Bulc, Ambassador Jean De Ruyt, Ambassador Sanh Chau Pham, and Madame Sheila Arora (in absence Prof. Wei Shen and Master Ji Jing). They engaged in a dialogue concerning the new strategic direction, outlining the forthcoming actions for the board and executive team in Q1 of 2024. The meeting concluded with voting to confirm the reports for 2023, the planned scope of activities for 2024, and the initial phase of the strategic positioning. An announcement regarding the restructuring will be made at the beginning of January 2024, ensuring continuity in the strategic positioning and the execution of planned activities. Document: Strategic positioning and re-structuring, with report of 2023 and 2024 plan For press enquiries: Matic Gajsek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Press release: High-level dialogue on ‘Inter-Religious Dialogue as a Catalyst for Global Climate Action’ at COP28

    Dubai -Brussels – 11th December 2023 On Sunday, 10th December 2023, Europe – Asia Center hosted a high-level dialogue titled “Inter-Religious Dialogue as a Catalyst for Global Climate Action” at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP 28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Distinguished experts participating at the high-level dialogue included H.E. Erik Solheim, vice-chair of the Europe – Asia Center and former UN Deputy Secretary General, Executive Director of UN Environment, H.E. Madame Irina Bokova, former UNESCO Director General, Venerable Master Ji-Jing, leader of faith and Cultural consultant of the Europe – Asia Center and Dr. Samir Boudinar, director of Alhokama Center for Peace Research and representative of the Muslim Council of Elders. In dialogue, moderated by Matic Gajsek, director for Europe at the Europe – Asia Center, distinguished panelists explored the intersection of faith and Climate action. The panel explored a range of exemplary Initiatives Across Faiths that contribute towards galvanizing broader Citizen Engagement. Specific questions were addressed on the profound relationship between spirituality and environmental stewardship, the role of culture, cultural heritage, and education in steering climate action, translation of faith principles into accessible steps for a global audience, and the potential of leaders of faith as influential advocates for widespread climate awareness. In context of COP28 for the first time also highlighting the Pavilion of Faith, the dialogue stood as a pivotal exploration into the potential of dialogue between faiths in steering global climate action, and enlightened the path to civilizational prosperity. About the Europe-Asia Center The Europe-Asia Center is an independent, not-for-profit organization promoting Asia-Europe relations by connecting professionals, institutions, organizations and networks across all sectors. Through implementation of projects, including conferences, workshops, cultural events, publications, educational and research programs, the mission of the Europe- Asia Center is to connect people and knowledge across continents. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Europe - Asia Center at COP 28: H.E. Erik Solheim with emphasis on the need to accelerate the process of just transition

    Brussels December 7th, 2023 Concluding the first week of the 28th edition of the United Nations (UN) Annual Climate conference (COP28), held in Dubai, H.E. Erik Solheim engaged in a broad range of high-level events hosted by governmental and industry stakeholders. Mr. Solheim’s participation during the first week of COP28 contributed to some of the key events, offering invaluable insights to world leaders on successfully implementing green energy initiatives. Noteworthy highlights encompassed events such as ‘Ecological Civilization and the Practice of Beautiful China,’ ‘Global Energy Interconnection,’ ‘China’s Overseas Green Energy Investment, and Green and Just Transition,’ and ‘Ambition of Energy Transition: Pioneers Addressing Climate Change.’ His involvement aligned with his broader advocacy emphasizing the need to accelerate the process of a just transition towards sustainability. Mr. Solheim’s advocacy priorities encompassed promoting green energy, achieving carbon neutrality, and safeguarding the environment. He stressed the importance of tailoring strategies for transitioning to cleaner energy sources tailored to each nation’s context. Remarkably, Mr. Solheim led discussions on regions including Spain, Korea, Africa, and Russia. Events he participated in included the ‘GH2: COP28 Side Event at the Korea Pavilion: Fast-tracking the energy transition through free hydrogen production’, the Africa Session on ‘Global Renewables Hub: In the driving seat of the African renewables and green hydrogen economy,” and the Russia event ‘Towards a Blue-Green Economy’. Additionally, Mr. Solheim participated as a distinguished panelist in the ‘GH2 Spain: Energy Transition Ambition at COP28 and Beyond’ event, deliberating strategies for better worldwide deployment of renewables, particularly in the West. He underscored three main issues: the need for political leadership in driving and actively engaging in renewable energy initiatives within civil society, global dialogue on national energy transition strategies and projects, and greater transparency and community inclusion in major renewable projects to mitigate fears and obstacles that impede implementations. Stronger political will and empowered community engagement are essential for the prosperous development of societies. H.E. Erik Solheim, vice-chair of the Europe – Asia Center and Lord Nicholas Stern In the coming days, Mr. Solheim will participate in several key events, including the ‘Seminar on Belt and Road Green and Low-carbon Transition,’ ‘Yabuli Chinese Entrepreneurs Forum Delegation,’ and the event ‘Towards Carbon Neutrality: China’s Green Economy Action and Outlook.’ These engagements reflect his steadfast support for environmental initiatives and commitment to advancing green and low-carbon transition projects crucial for global sustainability. Mr. Solheim will conclude his presence at COP28 on December 11th, contributing to the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub Pavilion event ‘Design, Digitalization, and Sustainable Development: The Role Of Creative Arts And Industries In Sustainable Industrial Transformation,’ hosted by the EIT Climate-KIC. He aims to raise awareness about the potential of Culture and Creative sectors in innovation, serving as catalysts and enablers for citizens’ climate action. For enquiries connected to attendance of events and bilateral meetings: Kira Xiao, Project coordinator and Assistant to Excellency Solheim, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: kira.xiao(at)europe-asia.org For enquiries connected to press and partnerships: Matic Gajsek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

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