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Celebrating ASEM Day-2019 in Bulgaria

13 March 2019 News

On 13 March 2019 a joint event of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria and Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” entitled "ASEM Day-2019: Strengthening connectivity between Europe and Asia by promoting people-to-people contacts and education exchange" was held at Sofia University to mark ASEM Day-2019. The ASEF Photo Exhibition "On the Go" was also presented during the event.

In his opening remarks the Director of Asia, Australia and Oceania Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ASEM Senior Official for Bulgaria Mr. Angel Orbetsov highlighted the importance of ASEM for further strengthening the relations between Europe and Asia which contribute to promoting peace and security, sustainable development and human rights in the two regions and beyond. Special attention was given to connectivity as the top priority of ASEM aimed at bringing countries, people and societies closer together, and fostering deeper economic, cultural, educational and people-to-people ties between the two regions. Mr. Orbetsov underlined Bulgaria’s priorities aimed at strengthening connectivity between Europe and Asia by promoting people-to-people contacts and the exchange in different areas, emphasizing that ASEM is an important component of Bulgaria’s foreign policy with regard to the Asia-Pacific Region.

The Vice-Rector of Sofia University Prof. Maria Stoicheva who was moderating the event underscored the important contribution of academia to Europe-Asia relations and emphasized the role of ASEM as a key platform for further enhancing the exchanges and collaboration between the two regions in the field of education. Prof. Stoicheva informed about the on-going fruitful cooperation under the mobility scheme of the EU’s ERASMUS+ Programme with Universities from ASEM partner countries such as Australia, China, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the Russian Federation, Viet Nam, Kazakhstan and Thailand which strengthen people-to-people contacts and promote further exchange between Europe and Asia through education. Students and Professors from Sofia University shared their experience and the knowledge gained through this exchange which sparked the interest of others to follow in their footsteps. Academic cooperation with the Asian partners in ASEM is further strengthened through the European Union’s capacity building programme for higher education – the Eurasia project, coordinated for Bulgaria by Sofia University, which brings together young researchers and professors from Universities across the EU and four partner Universities from India and China in curriculum development on the Europe-Asia dialogue in the fast-changing world. The Dean of the Faculty of Classical and Modern Philology Prof. Madeleine Danova informed about the Joint MA Programme of Sofia University and the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University on Europe and Asia and Geopolitics of the EU. Special emphasis was placed also on the newly established South, East and Southeast Asia BA and MA Programmes at Sofia University which provide an excellent opportunity for Bulgarian students to learn more about the political systems, history, traditions and cultures of the countries in Asia. A Sofia University alumnus talked about his participation in the 3rd ASEF Young Leaders’ Summit held in Brussels in October 2018 in conjunction with ASEM12.

This year’s edition of the ASEM Day celebration in Bulgaria contributed to increasing the visibility and relevance of ASEM for students and young professionals who epitomize the human dimension of ASEM connectivity and are inspired to take the Europe-Asia education cooperation forward to the benefit of the people in the two regions.
Link to video of the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GxiNVb7Xco 

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