Message from H.E. Mr. Lazăr Comănescu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
Esteemed President of the Romanian Institute for Euro-Asian Studies,
Taking advantage of this opportunity, I have the particular pleasure to address all those who wish to have a contribution to improving the mutual understanding between Europe and Asia and to creating even stronger ties between the two political, economic, cultural and spiritual areas. From a geographical point of view, they used to belong to the same vast continent, the cradle of some of the oldest civilizations.
The deep bonds between the two areas are reaching far back in history, finding their expression today in the comprehensive ASEM dialogue, of which Romania is an active participant since its accession to the EU.
The founding of the Romanian Institute for Euro-Asian studies is the result of a more than welcomed initiative of the civil society, backing Romania’s demarche to build new bridges between Europe and Asia.
I noticed with satisfaction that among the founders, members and honorary members of the Institute there are several career diplomats, as well as university professors with a well established reputation, thus guaranteeing the value of its activity.
I welcome this initiative and I express my hope that it will contribute to amplifying the relations and exchanges between the Romanian and Asian countries’ civil societies.
Lazar Comanescu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
Commentary of H.E. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN
ASEAN Looking Forward to the Future
ASEAN has been conducting regional cooperation for the past 41 years and is now working vigorously towards establishing an ASEAN Community by 2015. ASEAN is recognised as a driving force in the regional cooperation and integration. ASEAN remains important and relevant to its people and regional peace, stability and prosperity.
At the upcoming 14th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, 13-18 December 2008, I am confident that the ratification process of the ASEAN Charter will be completed and it will provide a new and comprehensive constitutional framework for community-building in ASEAN in a more rules-based and people-oriented environment.
The ASEAN Charter will put in place a new structure designed to ensure timely implementation and to enhance coordination. A Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, very much like the EU’s COREPER in Brussels, will be established and stationed in Jakarta to facilitate and coordinate ASEAN cooperation and integration agenda. An ASEAN human rights body, as reflected in the ASEAN Charter, will also be established. The Secretary-General of ASEAN will be given additional mandate in monitoring implementation of ASEAN agreements and decisions, and in promoting consultations of ASEAN with the civil society and other stakeholders in ASEAN.
Another milestone document for ASEAN integration efforts is the adoption of the Blueprint for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint is a coherent master plan identifying priority measures and actions to be undertaken to establish the AEC by the year 2015. The vision of ASEAN Leaders is to transform ASEAN into a single market and production base, highly competitive and fully integrated into the global community with an emphasis on equitable economic development where all citizens share in the benefits of ASEAN economic integration. The Blueprints of the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) are also expected to be adopted at the upcoming 14th ASEAN Summit.
The ASEAN Charter and the Blueprints of ASEAN Community will be crucial in building the ASEAN Community, which is rising on three pillars: political and security cooperation (the ASEAN Political-Security Community); economic and finance (the AEC); and socio-cultural (the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community).
The community-building also involves concerted efforts in narrowing the development gap among the first six Member States (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Brunei Darussalam) and the four new Member States (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam). The 2nd IAI Work Plan 2008-2015 is expected to be adopted at the 14th ASEAN Summit to lay an ASEAN road map to narrow the development gap by 2015.
A recent important achievement of ASEAN is the success of ASEAN in providing support and assistance to the victims of cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. The new modality of Tripartite Core Group, consisting of Government of Myanmar, ASEAN and UN to assist survivors of Cyclone Nargis has produced good results. The UN, Myanmar and ASEAN agreed to continue to cooperate in disaster relief. ASEAN and the UN will hold 3rd ASEAN-UN Summit in December 2008 to deepen their cooperation and partnership.
As China is rising and India is emerging, ASEAN should work hard together to remain competitive and relevance for their peoples. ASEAN wants to and can compete with China and India, as well as stand shoulder to shoulder with these two Asian giants in dialogue and cooperation. To this end, ASEAN has pursued ASEAN Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with its dialogue partners.
Looking into the future, we see bright prospects for the ASEAN Community. We also see many opportunities for the EU to engage ASEAN in mutually beneficial cooperation. With a combined GDP exceeding USD 1 trillion by 2010, and 570 million population, ASEAN can present a huge market and investment destination for the EU companies and industries. The ASEAN-EU FTA talks are ongoing. The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia will be amended to accommodate the EU’s accession. The EU is one of the most active founding members of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). And the EU has shown keen interest in the evolving community-building in East Asia. The EU is perceived as a strong supporter for ASEAN community and integration efforts.
Being new Members of ASEM, the ASEAN Secretariat and Romania have a good opportunity to promote greater cooperation between Asia and the EU. Let’s work together for the mutual benefit of our peoples.
DR. SURIN PITSUWAN The Secretary-General of ASEAN
Commentary of H.E. Mr. Sanaullah, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Romania
It is a welcoming development that a team of experts on Asia have finally decided to establish the much needed Romanian Institute for Europe-Asia Studies to promote understanding in Romania about Asian countries. The institute will certainly help create awareness about the challenges and opportunities involved in establishing mutually beneficial relations with fast growing economies in Asia. This process will also help the policy makers in respective countries to restucture policies promoting trade, culture, global security and development
Romania is an important country. It has always kept high profile relations with Asia and Africa. For sometimes, it was unable to stay the course due to its preoccupation with efforts to regain its rightful place in European Union. With this aim achieved in January 2007, Romania is once again poised to enhance its ties with Asian countries with strengthened political and economic profile. Its traditional friends look up to Romania as a country which may play an active role to promote European policies on issues of global importance in such a manner that old and new challenges threatening global stability are resolved.
In collaboration with the existing think tanks and the Romanian Foreign office, the Romanian Institute of Europe-Asia Studies can provide a forum to develop better understanding of the prospects and emerging trends on both continents for achieving our common objectives in diversified fields. The institute can build relations with regional organizations including ASEAN, SAARC, SCO and ECO. In this way, it can help achieve the Romanian Foreign Policy objectives too.
The founders of the Institute are richly endowed with requisite skills and vast experience in the fields of diplomacy and academics to achieve a high standard of excellence. Its President, Ambassador Gheorghe Savuica, has the unique experience of working with many Asian countries during his diplomatic career. More importantly, he has remained engaged with the countries after retirement. Pakistan's Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) and Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) have expressed their keen interest in establishing a close institutional linkage with IRSEA.
I find myself honoured to accept the offer of the honorary membership of this Institute, which I am sure will assume its rightful place soon. I will continue working closely with Ambassador Savuica to promote the institute as an additional bridge between Romania and Pakistan to promote mutually beneficially relations. I am confident that the Institute will fulfill the dreams and aspirations of its founders. The day is not far when this Institute will rise to a position of eminence under the dynamic and dedicated leadership of its founders within EU, with the active participation of the academic and diplomatic circles in Romania.
Ambassador of Pakistan,
Message from Endy Bayuni, Editor in Chief, Jakarta Post, Facebook Oversight Board
Three cheers for IRSEA
There are three very good reasons why an institute that looks into European and Asian relations should be established in Bucharest, of all the other possible places in the two continents.
The first is why not. As far as I know, there aren’t many other independent institutions in either Asia or Europe that are studying this important and still evolving relationship between the two regions. History, while important to understand, is unfortunately no guidance on how this relationship should ideally be pursued. Most relations between Asian and European countries are still very much grounded on the old paradigm of their past colonial ties, although the conditions underpinning these relations have drastically changed. The rise of Asia, especially now with China and India leading the pace, has meant that the center of gravity of the global economy is rapidly shifting to Asia, which also accounts for the bulk of the world’s population.. Asia cannot take Europe for granted in this evolving world order just as Europe cannot take Asia for granted.
It is therefore surprising that there aren’t that many institutions looking deeper into this important relationship. So the initiative to set up the Romania Institute for European-Asian Studies (IRSEA) is most timely and welcome, so that both Asia and Europe get it right next time around.
The second reason is that Romania, besides its proximity to Asia, has historically been a great learning center for science, technology, culture and sports. Not many people, not just in Asia but even in Europe, are aware that Romania or Romanians invented the fountain pen, cybernetics, insulin and the jet plane. Romania has also carved great names in the world of architecture and sculpture, while in sports, Nadia Comaneci became the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 in the Olympics. Romania also lays claim to have created the game that has since evolved into baseball.
With such a track record in science, we are looking forward to Romania’s contribution to improving relations between Europe and Asia through IRSEA. The advantage of having the center set up in Bucharest, rather in larger and the more obvious European capitals, is that Romania does not have the historical and political baggage that other European countries will have in looking at the relationship between Asia and Europe, so more great ideas should flow from here.
Last but not least, obviously the personal contribution of Ambassador Gheorghe Savuica in establishing the institute is important. He is a great friend of Asia, having represented well Romania in nurturing the relationship with Asian countries to which he was assigned, including Indonesia, where he served as ambassador before ending his diplomatic career. An accomplished diplomat -- and for those like me who are fortunate to know his great sense of humor -- he is pursuing his idea of creating this institute with such a seriousness and vigor, deploying his long years of experience and vast knowledge in diplomacy and in the Asian history and cultures. This new institute would not have been possible without his personal vision, touch and hard work.
On this very happy occasion to mark the establishment of the Romanian Institute for European-Asian Studies (IRSEA), I wish to congratulate Ambassador Savuica and his team, as well as everybody else who is involved in making it possible. I look forward to seeing the work and activity of the new institute, and also to my own personal participation and involvement in the near future.
Let’s raise our glass, filled with the best Romanian wine of course, and say three cheers to IRSEA.
Endy M. Bayuni
The Jakarta Post
Message from H.E. Mr. Ali Alatas, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia
"I welcome the establishment of IRSEA and congratulate Mr. Gheorghe Savuica for his efforts. I am confident that IRSEA will be a bridge and an effective vehicle in creating better understanding, solidarity and mutual appreciation between Romania and Southeast Asia and in particular between Romania and Indonesia."
With warmest regards,
Message from H.E. Mohamed Taha, former Ambassador of Egypt to Indonesia
My Dear Gheorghe,
At the outset, I have honor to acknowledge receipt of your kind invitation to join the membership of IRSEA. I should say that it is very important to establish such an institute as a think tank body in Romania to conduct research and studies on Europe-Asia relationship. It is needless to state that the whole world is now focusing more on Asia not only as the largest continent in our planet in terms of size and population, but also because of its rising economic powers, namely China, India and ASEAN.
I do believe that your institute will surely contribute to the sincere efforts exerted to firmly consolidate the multifaceted cooperation between your country and Asia in particular and improve the Euro Asian relations in general. Through the activities you intend to carry out in the institute, you will certainly be able to introduce Europe to Asia and vice versa in the most proper Manner.
One of the aspect you may pay attention to is Islam in Asia. I wish if you could give a room to discuss the role of Islam as a pressing factor in shaping the relationship between the two sides. The intellectuals on both sides are kindly invited to closely cooperate to change the stereotypes of both sides towards each other. All the peoples should believe in common values: peace, cooperation,freedom,justice and security.
Finally, I conclude by expressing all my best and warmest wishes to you and your colleagues and I wholeheartedly hope that the institute will be of a great benefit for mutual cooperation, understanding and respect between Europe and Asia.
Please accept, my dear friend, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Message from Hadi Soesastro, Executive Director of Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jakarta, Indonesia
On behalf of CSIS I like to thank you again for coming to CSIS and to have the seminar on "ASEAN As I See It", which was well received by the audience. I also like to thank you for the cooperation agreement between our two institutions.
I hope you had a great time in Indonesia and in the neighbouring countries and that your trip has been very fruitful.
I look forward to a long and successful cooperation and friendship.
Commentary of Dr. Ioan Voicu, Visiting Professor Assumption University, Bangkok
AT THE INAUGURATION OF IRSEA
One of most famous Romanians of all times, Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) asserted:"...the peoples of Asia have recently reentered the history...Westerners are being increasingly led to study, reflect on, and understand the spiritualities of Asia."
Much earlier, Nicolae Milescu (1636-1708), a writer, traveler, geographer and diplomat, in 1675 was appointed ambassador of the Russian Empire to Beijing. Upon returning to Moscow (1678), he submitted to the Russian Foreign Ministry three volumes of travel notes and Description of China, which were later used by many European scholars, diplomats and missionaries who took considerable interest in Asia.
On March 15 2007, in Nuremberg, Germany, the ministers of foreign affairs from the 27 members of the European Union and from the 10 members of ASEAN adopted a Declaration which contains the commitment of 37 countries to promote people-to-people contacts, involving, among other actors, youth, media, academics, think-tank institutions, parliamentary bodies and civil society, and build and nurture friendship and understanding between ASEAN and EU through interfaith dialogue and cultural exchanges.
In the light of traditions and modernity, the inauguration of the Romanian Institute for European-Asian Studies (IRSEA) is an exemplary and auspicious event which gives tangibility from a Romanian perspective to important needs and noble aspirations. By a happy coincidence, this happens exactly three centuries after Nicolae Milescu and immediately after a significant diplomatic premiere in Beijing.
Indeed, Romania took part for the first time in an ASEM Summit. The official theme of the ASEM 7 Summit was "Vision and Action - Towards a Win-Win Solution". Inspired by this generous theme, IRSEA can bring a useful contribution to the academic dialogue between Europe and Asia. It offers a promising bridge for a better understanding, mutual learning and cooperation between peoples of the two continents, as well as a fresh forum for free exchange of valuable ideas, proposals and projects meant to strengthen the collective efforts for building a prosperous, peaceful and harmonious world.
I wish full success to IRSEA!
Dr. Ioan Voicu, Visiting Professor Assumption University, Bangkok
Message from Peter Ryan, Director - Intellectual Exchange, Asia - Europe Foundation (ASEF), Singapore
On behalf of the Asia-Europe Foundation, I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the excellent partnership we enjoyed for the 26th ASEF Lecture Tour “Stories from Borders and Stories of Borders” by Dr. Sriprapha Petcharamesree from the Office of Human Rights Studies and Social Development, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Mahidol University, Thailand on the 7th of November 2008.
With your support the lecture tour proved to be a remarkable success. Dr Petcharamesree received numerous positive comments from participants attending the lecture expressing their gratitude.
We believe that the very well conceptualised project, the programme-outline as well as the choice of participants made this event a highly fruitful contribution in Bucharest . I sincerely hope that you share my enthusiasm about the level of participation, the quality of the presentation and especially the discussions at this event.
We would like to thank you & Laurentiu for your time for working on the lecture & congratulate you on the launch of the Romanian Institute for European-Asian Studies.
Once again, it has been an immense pleasure to be working in partnership with Romanian Institute for European-Asian Studies. We genuinely hope that this partnership will continue in future projects.