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  • Europe – Asia Center and H.E. Erik Solheim at COP28 in Dubai, UAE

    Brussels November 30th, 2023 The United Nations (UN) annual climate change conference, also known as the ‘Conference of the Parties’ or ‘COP’, will in its 28th edition hosted in Dubai, between November 30th and December 12th 2023 bring together world leaders, ministers, negotiators and representatives of civil society to agree on how to address climate change. The Europe-Asia Center is honoured to be a contributing partner to several high-level dialogue events and discussions, led by the center’s vice-chair H.E. Erik Solheim. H.E. Erik Solheim, vice-chair of the Europe – Asia Center and former UN Deputy Secretary General and Executive director of UN Environment H.E. Erik Solheim is scheduled to engage in various activities at the 2023 Climate Conference in the role of a featured speaker and distinguished guest, emphasizing the importance of collective efforts in addressing climate change. His emphasis will be the promotion of climate action, carbon neutrality, green energy, low-carbon transition, and environmental protection. The Europe – Asia Center as a partner of events and Excellency Solheim as vice-chair will dedicate considerable attention to the promotion of green energy. Recognizing the pivotal role that renewable energy plays in mitigating climate change, he will continue his advocacy work on the need for increased investment and innovation in this field. By shedding light on successful green energy initiatives from around the world, Erik Solheim aims to inspire nations to accelerate their transition towards cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. Excellency Solheim will appear in a range of events hosted by countries, industry and civil society’s stakeholder represented at the conference. These events will focus on tailoring environmental protection strategies to each nation’s unique context. Notably, Excellency Solheim is scheduled to lead discussions with countries such as Spain, South Korea, India, China, European Union, and and others. The dialogues will encompass a wide array of environmental sectors, including new energy, green finance, governance and creativity. As the world collectively strives for a greener and more resilient planet, Erik Solheim’s upcoming efforts are poised to stand as a testament to the power of international collaboration in the face of climate change. The contribution of Europe – Asia Center and Excellency Solheim at the 2023 Dubai Climate Change Conference reflect a comprehensive and inclusive approach to global environmental issues. 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

  • Paris Peace Forum and high-level dialogue on “EU – China Relations in times of Geopolitical complexity”

    Brussels November 13th, 2023 The Europe-Asia Center delegation, led by chairman Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel and vice-chair H.E. Dr. hc. Violeta Bulc, participated in the 2023 edition of the Paris Peace Forum held between November 10th and 11th 2023. The Paris Peace Forum stands as the flagship event of a platform dedicated to incubating new global governance policy initiatives. The 6th edition emphasized innovative cooperation models involving governments, international organizations, civil society, and businesses to achieve tangible outcomes. During the forum presence, the Europe-Asia Center delegation engaged in numerous dialogues with distinguished speakers, dignitaries, and guests, including H.E. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ambassador Fu Ying, Former Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel, H.E. Dr. hc. Violeta Bulc, Ms Rui Yan and Mr Matic Gajsek (Europe – Asia Center) together with Ambassador Fu Ying. In context of forum, Europe-Asia Center also hosted a high-level dialogue titled “EU – China Relations in times of Geopolitical Complexity,” co-chaired by H.E. Dr. hc. Violeta Bulc and H.E. Erik Solheim, both Vice-Chairs of the Europe-Asia Center. Among distinguished guests attending was the Executive Committee of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), including Dr. Huiyao Wang, Founder and President, Dr. Mabel Lu MIAO, Co-founder and Secretary-General, Mr. WANG Yiwei, Jean Monnet Chair Professor Remini University, and Ms. Lisa Lang, Director of Policy & EU Affairs Orchestrator of Climate KIC. The high-level dialogue addressed key topics such as EU-China relations, the imperative of navigating Economic Cooperation and Trade within the contexts of partnership, competition, and systemic rivalry, and the potential of inter-civilizational dialogue for the prosperity of humankind. This dialogue contributes to the strategic partnership framework between the Europe-Asia Center and the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), focusing on research, academic engagement, governance, business interaction, and people-to-people exchange as primary priorities. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Media: Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel on APEC dialogue between President Biden and President Xi (China Global Television Network – CGTN)

    Brussels – November 18th, 2023 On the occasion of the Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden high-level dialogue during the APEC Meeting in California, the Chairman of the Europe – Asia Center Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel shared the European position on the significance of the leaders meeting. Ambassador Steel’s contribution was part of the broader coverage by the China Global Television Network – CGTN. Contribution was part of the French broadcasting channels by the CGTN. 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

  • Press release: Her Excellency Dr. hc. Violeta Bulc, former EU Commissioner for Transport and Mobility and Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia joins the board of Europe-Asia Center

    Brussels – November 7th, 2023 The Brussels based Europe-Asia Center is pleased to announce the appointment of Her Excellency dr. hc. Violeta Bulc, the Commissioner for Transport and Mobility in Juncker’s Commission (2014 – 2019) and former Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia as member of the board. Excellency Bulc is currently also serving as curator for Ecocivilisation Initiative, #G100 Global Chair for the Women World Economic Forum and member of the board of Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI). “It is an honour and privilege for me to join the board of the Europe-Asia Center. It is more important than ever to build bridges, strengthen global relationships and jointly learn how to “human better”. Asia and Europe are just at the beginning of an exciting collaborative future with huge potentials for leading the way for a more inclusive, peaceful and engaging world. The transition from Holocene to Anthropocene era is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous which will require a lot of trust, innovation and proactive decision making to curate an emergence of a new stability on our precious Planet. I know that with my rich and diversified experience I can be a valuable member of this mission driven far-reaching Center.” said Her Excellency Violeta Bulc. “I’m thrilled and honored to welcome Violeta Bulc as the Vice Chairwoman and Board Member of the Europe Asia Center. Her interest to join the Center perfectly aligns with her well-established international and European standing and reputation, which will undoubtedly bolster the Center’s role as a bridge between Europe and Asia. With her Slovenian heritage and strong passion for improving the human condition and harnessing the potential of innovation and technology, Violeta will play a key role in helping the Center address issues like the emerging global technological divide. As the Chairman of the Board, I look forward to collaborating with Violeta and benefiting from her wealth of knowledge and experience” said Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel, Chairman of the Europe-Asia Center. As a board member of the Europe-Asia Center, Excellency dr. hc. Violeta Bulc will contribute to the strategic development and practice of the Europe-Asia Center through her expertise and extensive experience in national and EU governance, leadership, science, technology and innovation. Having served as the EU Commissioner for Transport and Mobility between 2014 and 2019, Violeta Bulc brings expertise that is critical to the current geopolitical dynamics and civilization paradigms between East and West. 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

  • Press release: High-level dialogue on the state and prospects of EU – China Relations with the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)

    Brussels – 19th October 2023 On Thursday, 19th October 2023, on the occasion of the visit to Brussels by the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the Europe – Asia Center hosted a high-level dialogue titled “EU – China dialogue: Insights on prospects of Sino-European relations”. During the high-level exchange, executive representatives of both Europe – Asia Center and CPPCC engaged in a comprehensive discussions regarding the current state as well as the future prospects of the Sino-European relations. During the dialogue, participants delved into a wide array of topics, ranging from global climate emergency, education, culture, and sports, among others. Representatives, including Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel, Chairman of the Europe-Asia Center, Ambassador Mr. Jean De Ruyt and Madame Sheila Arora, both Vice-chairman of the Europe-Asia Center, Madame Lisa Lang, Director of Policy & EU Affairs Orchestrator at Climate KIC, Mr. WANG Guangqing, Vice-chairman of the Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and Ambassador Mr. FU Cong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Head of Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union, concluded the dialogue by emphasising the need for fostering a constructive exchanges of ideas and perspectives. The dialogue was held on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, making it a particularly noteworthy gathering. During this dialogue, participants expressed their unwavering commitment to collaborating on a global scale. Their shared dedication aims to address the pressing challenges facing the international community, with the ultimate goal of fostering a world that is stable, peaceful, and prosperous. The high-level dialogue exemplified the significance of fostering diplomatic and societal relations between the EU and China. It serves as an encouraging sign of the commitment of both parties to continue building strong and constructive partnerships. 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

  • Press release: Ambassador Jean De Ruyt, former Ambassador of Belgium to the EU, NATO and the UN joins the board of Europe-Asia Center

    Brussels – September 26th, 2023 The Brussels based Europe-Asia Center is delighted to announce the appointment of Belgian diplomat Ambassador Jean De Ruyt – former Permanent Representative of Belgium to the European Union and currently a Senior Advisor for the law firm Covington in Brussels, a member of the Belgian Royal Academy and a Senior Associate Fellow of the Egmont Institute. “ I am honoured to be joining the board of the Europe-Asia Center to contribute to the Europe-Asia dialogue that is so important in today’s world. Having been witness to an ever-changing global landscape, it is my great pleasure to be invited to offer insight, so we may learn from the past and so understand better the opportunities of the near future,” said Ambassador Jean De Ruyt. “It is a great pleasure to have Ambassador Jean De Ruyt join the Europe – Asia Center, as he brings with him a wealth of geopolitical and European knowledge and an extensive diplomatic network. I have had the privilege of knowing Ambassador De Ruyt for many years as a brilliant colleague and loyal friend. His presence and expertise will undoubtedly contribute significantly to the work we do here, strengthening the Europe Asia relations. We warmly welcome Ambassador De Ruyt and look forward to the valuable contribution he will make,” said Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel, Chairman of the Europe-Asia Center. As a board member of the Europe-Asia Center, Ambassador Jean de Ruyt will contribute to the strategic development and practice of the Europe-Asia Center through his extensive experience and knowledge of the European organizations. Having served as the Permanent Representative to the UN in New York at the time of 9/11 and Ambassador to NATO, Jean De Ruyt brings to the Center invaluable knowledge and a deep understanding of the current geopolitical climate. Together with his skills as a political analyst and skilled strategist, the Center will be in a position to navigate the increasingly complex world of EU-Asian relations. 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

  • Press release: The Waldner Cup 2023 – A Global Table Tennis Festival Like No Other 2023, Waldner vs Ma Long

    Brussels – Stockholm, September 12th, 2023 After four years of waiting, it is the launch of an extraordinary clash of table tennis titans as the Waldner Cup 2023 descends upon Stockholm from November 23rd to 26th. This highly anticipated event will bring together the finest table tennis players from across the globe for an exhilarating face-off between Team World and Team Asia, and it promises to be nothing short of spectacular. The Waldner Cup, inspired by the spirit of the Ryder Cup in golf and the iconic ping pong diplomacy,  stands as a symbol of unity, dialogue, and collaboration on a global stage. This thrilling tournament, a brainchild of table tennis legend Jan Ove Waldner, aims to transcend borders, cultures, and languages to bring the world together around one table. My next chapter is to lift this sport to the next level. Not just for the sport itself, but for what it means to people, their health, culture, relationships between countries and continents. Ultimately, we build bridges and make peace, says Jan-Ove Waldner. World-Class Athletes to Watch Team World, captained by the legendary Jan Ove Waldner, boasts an impressive lineup featuring table tennis luminaries such as Timo Boll, Dimo Ovtcharov, Bernadette Szocs, Adriana Diaz, Truls Møregardh, Hugo Calderano, and the Lebrun brothers from France. Their exceptional skills and fierce determination promise an unforgettable performance. On the other side of the net, Team Asia, led by the “GOAT” (Greatest of All Time) Ma Long, is ready to bring their A-game. With stars like Wang Chuqin, Chen Meng, Kasumi Ishikawa as vice-captain, Manika Batra from India, and Lim Jonghoon and Jan Woojin from South Korea, they are poised to give their opponents a run for their money. I have always had great respect for Waldner, and wanted to support him and the event that is  something new and interesting to table tennis. Also, I was very fascinated as this event is much like the Ryder Cup in golf, where the best names from America meet the best golfers in Europe. We have the same here at the Waldner Cup where the best from Asia meets the best from rest of the world. It will be a fantastic event, says Ma Long who will lead Team Asia. Waldner Cup is a table tennis event the world has never seen before. Rivals unite around the table. The Waldner Cup is a two-day live broadcasted event, where the best players from Asia China play against the world’s best players in the World. Each team has both male and female players, which are handpicked by the team captains. The team captain picks which players are set up against the rival team for each match. The scoring system is simple; one point per win on the first day of the cup, and two points on the second day. The first team to reach most points win the title as champions of the Waldner Cup. A Diverse Lineup of Events The Waldner Cup 2023 is not just a sporting event; it’s a multifaceted celebration of the human spirit. In addition to the thrilling table tennis matches, the tournament will host an array of events, including the Green & Blue Summit, featuring distinguished speakers such as President Emeritus of the European Union H. E. Herman von Rompuy, former EU Commissioner for Transport and Mobility H. E. Violeta Bulc, former UN Deputy Secretary General and Executive director of UN Environment Agency H. E. Erik Solheim, Ambassador Jean de Ruyt, Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel, Dr. Wang Huiyao, Mr. Victor Gao, to only name a few. This summit will provide a platform for meaningful dialogue and international cooperation. Moreover, the Waldner Cup will showcase the Legends Esport Cup, a captivating blend of technology and sportsmanship, a friendship concert to foster cultural exchange, and a host of other engaging activities that will captivate fans and spectators alike. Join Us at the Waldner Cup The Waldner Cup 2023 is not just a tournament; it’s a celebration of excellence, sportsmanship, and the power of sport to unite us all. We invite table tennis enthusiasts and sports fans from around the world to be part of this historic event. Event Details: ● Date: November 23rd to 26th, 2023 ● Location: Waterfront Congress Centre, Stockholm For ticket information, event schedule, and updates, please visit http://www.waldnercup.com Join us at the Waldner Cup 2023, where the world comes together for the love of table tennis! For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Director for Europe, Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • H.E. Erik Solheim, Vice-chair of the Europe – Asia Center: Fight the blight

    Once hailed as a wonder material, plastic has become a threat to life Written by H.E. Erik Solheim, Vice-chair of the Europe – Asia Center, former UN Deputy Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP When plastic was introduced in the United States in the 1950s, it was seen as the wonder material. We could preserve food better, make cars and aircraft lighter and protect against dangerous bacteria. But as often happens in human life, when we discover something good, we get addicted. We start overusing it. There are three main reasons why humanity needs to overcome its addiction to plastic. Plastics have no role in nature. They are causing an environmental catastrophe. A whale died in Thailand recently. It vomited plastic bags while passing away. Sea birds dive down mistaking plastics for shellfish. They feed their chicks with this poisonous food. They perish, as do camels, cows and turtles, in all corners of the planet. Single-use plastic is an additional economic disaster. Who will swim along the wonderful beaches in Hainan province, in Sri Lanka or in Bali, if it means entering a sea of plastics? For this reason, tourism-dependent Indonesia declared plastic pollution a major economic threat to the nation. Plastics enter our bodies. We breathe plastic, we drink plastic and we eat plastic. Bigger plastic items fragment in nature and get into our bodies as microplastics. Fish carry plastics. Even the most pristine waters of the world, in the Himalayas or the Arctic, now contain microplastics. We don’t know exactly how microplastics affect the human body. But no one has suggested that is good for us. Fortunately, we know how to solve the plastic crisis. The solution doesn’t involve costly high tech or impossible international diplomacy. Every nation can act, without looking over their shoulder asking what others are doing. The cleanest nation in the world is the most improbable place. In small, poor, landlocked Rwanda you cannot find garbage in the streets. The capital city of Kigali is absolutely clean. “All Rwandans keep clean at home”, President Paul Kagame told me. We just need to transform that spirit to the community at large. The solution is three-fold. First, we should prohibit all single-use plastics we do not need. Let’s simply ban straws, plastic cutlery, plastic cups and bags. This is what the Indian government has done even if it’s not yet fully respected everywhere. The European Union has done the same. We can all drink straight from a normal glass, without straws. In average, one North American uses 600 straws a year. Does it make them happier? There is no need to wait. Let’s just do it. We can be a lot more innovative. Straws can be made from bamboo or from paper. Indians have through millenniums eaten from plates made of banana leaves. All over the planet startups are trying to make products with the characteristics of plastics from potatoes, sugar cane and many other natural materials. If we throw away natural products, they will disintegrate in nature. China’s delivery industry, for example, annually produces about 1.8 million metric tons of plastic waste. Bamboo, which is fast-growing, resilient and sustainable, can be used as a substitute for single-use plastics, while being recyclable and eco-friendly. Planting bamboo can restore degraded or deforested land, mitigate soil erosion and provide food for giant pandas and mountain gorillas. Second, we need to recycle. Yes, we can ban single-use plastics, but we still have many plastic products which are useful to us and not so easy to replace. A normal car contains many kilos of plastics, it makes the car lighter and consumes less energy. These plastics must be brought in and recycled. Between 2011 and 2020, China recycled 170 million tons of plastic waste, helping reduce crude oil consumption by 510 million tons and cut carbon emissions by 61.2 million tons. China has grown into the largest plastic recycling country in the world. It recycled about one-third of its new plastic waste in 2021, about 1.7 times the global average. Beijing is making headway in this regard, requiring the city’s courier services to step up and fully transform the packaging practice, switching to digital waybills, narrower packaging tape and recyclable bags. The city of Shanghai, and provinces such as Shanxi, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian are taking similar measures, all in alignment with a 2020 directive from the Chinese government. Hangzhou, the host city of the postponed 2022 Asian Games, scheduled to take place in September, is set to make the Games a showcase of its “zero-waste city “endeavor and create a “zero-waster “model for large-scale sporting events. It is making this bold attempt by going green, frugal, paperless and recyclable. Third, let the market wave its magic wand. All countries should introduce Extended Producer Responsibility. That is the polluter-pays principle for the plastics era. A company which contributes to the plastic crisis should also be held responsible for funding the solution. With extended producer responsibility, companies will be engaged in driving the technology for change. They will have to pay a levy on plastics which governments can use to organize plastic collection and pay for large-scale recycling. Waste is a potential resource. We can turn it into new products, creating jobs and prosperity, protecting Mother Earth all at the same time. Individuals can also act. Afroz Shah is an Indian environmental activist best known for organizing the world’s largest beach clean-up project, inspiring people around the world to clean up their environment. I have joined him for many clean-ups at rivers and beaches in the mega city of Mumbai. What started as an individual following his heart to act, became a vast movement for political and business change and for a new pact between humans and nature. A young Sri Lankan Nishanka De Silva started Zero Plastics Sri Lanka in the midst of the economic meltdown of his home country. I thought it was impossible to mobilize young people for green action amid the crisis. Incredibly, young Sri Lankans turned out in droves. The global people’s movement to fight single-use plastics is still in its early days. But there is no doubt, it will be successful. China will continue to play a critical role in solutions. On world Environment Day — let’s join hands to beat plastic pollution. Editorial contribution was made as part of China Daily editorial article. H.E. Erik Solheim is furthermore the vice president of the Green Belt and Road Coalition and former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.

  • Press release: “Poetic and Picturesque Zhejiang” – Culture and Tourism Promotion event in Oslo, Norway

    Oslo – June 15th, 2023 On 15 June, “Poetic and Picturesque Zhejiang” – Culture and Tourism Promotion showacase was organized as a flagship event highlighting the work of the European office by the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and supported by Europe-Asia Center in Oslo, Norway. Mr. Rui Hong, Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism Deputy Party Secretary, Deputy Director, (Director level), H.E. Mr. Erik Solheim, Vice-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center, and Mr. Pan Zegun, Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Norway were among the high-level attending guests and speakers at the event. Mr. Rui Hong, Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism Deputy Party Secretary, Deputy Director, (Director level) and Mr. Pan Zegun,Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Norway Mr. Rui Hong, Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism Deputy Party Secretary, Deputy Director, (Director level) expressed in his speech that Zhejiang is one of the birthplaces of ancient Chinese civilization and endowed with unique cultural and tourism resources, known as “the hometown of fish and rice, the capital of silk and tea, the province of cultural relics, and wonderland of tourism”. With its profound history, abundant cultural heritage, breathtaking natural landscapes, and exceptional tourism infrastructure, Norway stands as one of the world’s most captivating tourist destinations. Through this promotion, he hopes to foster friendship between Zhejiang and Norway, deepen bilateral cooperation, and develop tourism source markets and destinations together. Mr. Erik Solheim, Vice-Chair of the Europe – Asia Center enthusiastically shared his fond memories of his previous visits to Zhejiang, praising the city’s traditional customs and noting that he was impressed by the city’s infrastructure development, the growth of tourism and the transformational changes taking place in China. Mr. Erik Solheim was confident that Zhejiang will become a representative eco-cultural tourism city in the world in the future. H.E. Erik Solheim – vice-chair of the Europe – Asia Center Mr. Pan Zegun, Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Norway highlighted that “Poetic and Picturesque Zhejiang” is distinctive brand and business card of Zhejiang’s culture and tourism, and this culture and tourism promotion provides a unique opportunity for exchange and mutual appreciation between different cultures and values. Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Norway, and the Chinese Embassy in Norway is looking forward to a series of events to promote bilateral exchanges and cooperation and to lay a more solid foundation for the future development of Sino-Norwegian relations. Mr. Pan Zegun,Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Norway With the musical performance of the Liang Zhu string quartet and the exceptional performance of Yue Opera’s praised ‘Peacock Flying Southeast’ dance, the guests were able to taste the unique charm of Jiangnan and Zhejiang culture. Through the promotion, the guests learned more about Zhejiang’s profound cultural heritage and rich tourism resources, and discussed the promotion of Zhejiang’s culture and tourism. Magnificent artistry of Zhejiang Xiaobaihua Yue Opera Troupe performing the “Peacock Flying Southeast“ During the short visit to Norway, the Europe – Asia Center as the European representative of the hejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism furthermore organized parallel high-level dialogue meeting with leadership of Visit Norway / Innovation Norway. The key objective of dialogue was to map and identify key action points for strengthening tourism exchange between Zhejiang and Norway, and continuous best-practice exchange. Innovation Norway delegation was led by Mr Frode Aasheim, director of Visit Norway and Ms Ingunn Sakshaug, Market and Travel Trade Specialist Tourism Denmark, Nederland/ Belgium, Asia and New Developing Markets. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Deputy director Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Press release: “Tea For Harmony – Yaji Cultural Salon” Unveils the Splendor of Chinese Tea Culture in Copenhagen

    Copenhagen – June 14th, 2023 On June 14th 2023, the “Tea for Harmony: Yaji Cultural Salon” was inaugurated at the China Cultural Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. The exhibition was organized in collaboration between the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, the Chinese Embassy in Denmark, the China Cultural Center in Copenhagen and the Europe-Asia Center. Presented under the special theme of “Tea for Hygge,” the event captivated the audience by a showcase of delightful flavors of Chinese tea heritage and a tranquil atmosphere creating a true comfort of Hygge. In his opening address, Mr. RUI Hong, Deputy Secretary of the Party Group and Deputy Director-General (Director-General level) of the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism extended a warm welcome to all the distinguished guests present at the event. He highlighted the long standing history of tea and tea craftmanship to the province of Zhejiang, one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilization. Zhejiang prides itself on the “traditional tea processing techniques and associated social practices in China”, which have been included as one of the first on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Mr RUI Hong furthermore exemplified how country such as Denmark successfully combines tradition with modernity, and flagships the rich humanistic legacy with naming only the example of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales that continue inspiring generations, including the Chinese. He noted that Denmark’s unique cultural atmosphere with the “Just, Clear, Harmonious, and Elegant” has a strong resemblance with the Chinese tea culture and how such exchanges might serve as a bridge, promoting cultural exchanges between China and Europe. Mr. RUI Hong, Deputy Secretary of the Party Group and Deputy Director-General of the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism Coinciding with the 73rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Denmark, as well as the 15th anniversary of the China-Denmark comprehensive strategic partnership, Mr. HE Fuxiang, Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Denmark highlighted China’s long history of tea. He raised the example of warm welcome guests receive by Chinese people’s showcase of tea and unique tea culture. Whether in ancient times through the Silk Road or in today’s globalized world, Chinese tea serves as a link between the Chinese people and the world. He warmly invited Danish friends to visit Zhejiang and experience its breathtaking landscapes, while calling for enhanced cooperation between China and Denmark in various fields through the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative. Tea for Harmony – official opening of the exhibition The inauguration event was also joined by His Excellency Erik Solheim, Vice-Chairman of the Europe-Asia Center, who in his address mentioned the fascination Europe had about advanced China already in the time of Marco Polo’s explorations. He emphasized Zhejiang’s tea culture’s historical importance and influence, particularly during the Song Dynasty, which played a pivotal role in trade, culture, and cuisine. Sharing his personal memories of visiting Zhejiang in the past, and recognizing the impressive development of cities and infrastructure, tourism growth, and transformative changes taking place in China, Excellency Solheim expressed his confidence in Zhejiang’s future as a globally recognized ecotourism destination. H.E. Erik Solheim – Vice-chairman of the Europe – Asia Center Mr. Flemming Bruun, CEO of the Danish National Tourism Office, recognized the enormous potential for international cultural and tourism development in China. He emphasized the significant impact of Chinese tourists on the Danish tourism industry and economic growth, expressing his strong desire to strengthen cultural and tourism exchanges between the two nations and the Danish National Tourism Office’s enthusiastic commitment to actively contribute to this endeavor. In his speech, Mr. ZHENG Wen, Director of the China Cultural Center in Copenhagen, highlighted the essence of nature, communication, and mutual understanding that is inherent in the act of drinking tea. He explained that the term “Yaji” refers to the ancient gatherings where literati and scholars enjoyed tea, appreciated the moon, recited poetry, and engaged in intellectual discussions. Mr. Zheng extended a warm invitation to friends from all spheres of life in Denmark, inviting them to embark on a spontaneous journey to visit Zhejiang. Mr. ZHENG Wen, Director of the China Cultural Center in Copenhagen The event commenced with an enchanting “Water-sleeve” dance, performed by the exceptional artists of the Zhejiang Xiaobaihua Yue Opera Troupe. Artists also performed an excerpt from the Yue opera “The Butterfly Lovers – The Eighteen Miles Farewell,” which left a lingering impression on the audience. Rounding the event, the audience was able to enjoy a promotional video showcasing the unique cultural and tourism features of Zhejiang as well as the highlight performance of the evening, with a performance of the Zhejiang folk song “Tea Picking Dance” (in arrangement for traditional instruments of zhongruan, flute, erhu, and guitar). The musical performance offered a glimpse of the enchanting early spring scenery of Jiangnan and celebrating the artistry and lives of tea farmers. Magnificent artistry of Zhejiang Xiaobaihua Yue Opera Troupe performing the “Water-sleeve” dance About the exhibition The exhibition, themed “Tea for Hygge” was comprised of five major sections: “Hygge of Color”, “Hygge of Fragrance”, “Hygge of Melody,” “Hygge of Scrolls” and “Hygge of Creation.” These sections artfully embodied the unique tea experience cherished by the Chinese people. “Hygge of Colors” presented the ever-changing hues of tea, complemented by exquisite tea utensils. “Hygge of Fragrance” focused on showcasing diverse tea aromas. “Hygge of Melody” used digital devices to showcase classical tea poetry and music. “Hygge of Scrolls” displayed ancient and contemporary tea books from China and around the world, while “Hygge of Creation” exhibited creatively designed tea derivatives, including innovative tea wares, tea snacks, tea beverages, and various other categories. Danish tea culture expert and human physiology expert Mr. Marcus Udsen Grandjean was invited to accompany the guests and provide an in-depth reflections of tea knowledge. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Deputy director Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

  • Webinar: Global Gateway – Implications for EU-Asia Relations

    East meets West Expert Series An Expert Roundtable organised by the Europe-Asia Centre, Brussels – June 2023 Global Gateway is the first EU connectivity strategy that aims at narrowing the global investment gap, estimated at 13 trillion Euros by 2040. Launched in December 2020 Global Gateway is to offer both a strategic framework and a normative-institutional model for practical cooperation in global infrastructure development based on clear principles, key areas, and dedicated sources of financing. With a global scope, Global Gateway is focusing on four regions, including Asia-Pacific, the other being Africa, Latin America, and the Western Balkans. This roundtable will discuss the objectives, interests, instruments, and capacities related to Global Gateway with regard to the EU’s relations with Asia. What are the key components of Global Gateway? How does the EU implement Global Gateway in the region? How can the EU work with its partners in the region and beyond to ensure coherence and alignment with the EU’s political and economic interests as well as its values? How does Global Gateway address the issue of unsustainable debt and unwanted dependencies, e.g., with regard to China? In how far do the existing Connectivity Partnerships of the EU with India and Japan contribute to the implementation of Global Gateway? What is the role of other like-minded partners, e.g., the Republic of Korea, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the USA? What are the key challenges and opportunities of Global Gateway and to what extent do they inhibit or increase the effectiveness of the strategy’s implementation? Participating high-level guests Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel, Chairman of Europe-Asia Centre (Belgium) H.E. Ioannis Giogkarakis-Argyropoulos, Head of Division for Asia Pacific Regional Affairs and South Asia – European External Action Service (Greece) Ambassador Phạm Sanh Châu, Vice-chair of Europe-Asia Centre, Belgium and former Ambassador of Viet Nam to EU (Viet Nam) Participating experts Dr. Christiane Prange, Founder & Strategy director Cralan Global Institute, Professor Woxsen University, The Fletcher School – Tufts University, co-author of book ‘XICONOMICS’ (Germany) Roundtable moderator Mr Matic Gajsek, Deputy Director, Europe – Asia Center (Belgium)

  • High-level dialogue event hosted by Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau with Nordic Ambassadors in Da Lat (Vietnam)

    Hanoi – Brussels May 30th, 2023 A high-level dialogue with Nordic Ambassadors to Viet Nam hosted in the picturesque city of Da Lat by Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau, vice-chair of the Europe – Asia Center, offered a significant display of diplomatic cooperation. The event brought together distinguished guests, including Swedish Ambassador Ann Måwe and Finnish Ambassador Keijo Norvanto, alongside local government leaders and business representatives. The aim was to foster economic collaboration between Lam Dong province and the Nordic countries. Subsequently, the esteemed diplomats embarked on a journey to discover the enchanting wonders of Da Lat, further promoting bilateral relations and cultural exchange. The reception, organized by Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau, served as an ideal platform for diplomatic representatives to celebrate the values of friendship and cooperation. Amidst the breathtaking landscape of Da Lat, the event facilitated fruitful discussions and the exchange of ideas between Ambassador Chau, Ambassador Måwe, and Ambassador Norvanto. Address of Ambassador of Kingdom of Sweden, Mrs. Ann Måwe Exploring Da Lat’s Cultural Treasures Following the successful reception, the ambassadors embarked on a captivating exploration of Da Lat’s prominent attractions. Their itinerary included visits to historical landmarks like Bao Dai Place, Cite Decoux, Gare Da Lat, Grand Lycee, Satem Hills, and the Villa Building Lots. These locations hold immense historical significance and showcase the city’s rich heritage and architectural marvels. Dialogue is part of Europe – Asia Center’s ambition of strengthening presence, exchange and dialogue in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the European Union and its member states. For press enquiries: Matic Gajšek, Deputy director Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org

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