October 7, 2008

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


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


Message from H.E. Mr. Sanaullah
Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
To Romania

August 27, 2008
It is a wecoming development that a team of experts on Asia have finally decided to establish the much needed Institute of International Affairs in Romania 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  strengthend 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 stabilty are resolved.

In collaboration with the existing think tanks and the Romanian Foreign office, the Romanian Institute of International Affairs 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 likages with  IRSEA.

I fiind myself honoured to accpt 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 instiute 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 participacion of the academic and diplomatic circles in Romania.

Ambassador of Pakistan,


Message from Dr. Yasonna Laoly:

I was very pleased to know that you had established an institution, the Romanian Institute for European – Asian Studies, which is dedicated to the research, analysis and discussion of fundamental economic and socio – political issues in Europe and Asia. Given the complexities of socioenomic, political, and cultural problems faced by many countries in Asia, and the relatively more advanced development of European countries in those aspects, in my view, it is very important to conduct studies to better understand the European and Asian countries dealing with those issues. Based on such studies, the IRSEA can contribute strategies, evaluations, and perhaps policy recommendations for European and Asian communities, especially for the purpose of strengthening the relationships between the communities in the two continents. This is especially very important for many countries in Asia.

As a new institution, I realize that leading the IRSEA with such important and far-reaching objectives is certainly a difficult undertaking. However, I have not a slightest doubt that with your credentials, knowledge and experience as an Ambassador in several countries in Asia and a diplomat in other continents as well, you will successfully lead this institution to meet its objectives. With your personal charm and excellence sense of humor, and as a leading diplomat, you will easily develop an extensive networking to support the IRSEA. I also admire you for your initiative to establish this institution, since you have to forgo your retirement and decide to share your knowledge, experience and energy through the IRSEA for the benefits of mankind.

When I received your email a couple months ago asking me to be an honorary member of the IRSEA, I felt truly honored and flattered. It’s really a great pleasure and honor for me to be able to serve as an honorary member of the IRSEA. Therefore, please allow me to extend my deep appreciation and gratitude for your kindness to include me in such important institution. And please free to write me or ask me to do things that I could be of any help to you and the IRSEA.

Please extend my warmest regards to Mr. Laurentiu CRISTEA, the Secretary General of the IRSEA.
Best Regards, Dr. Yasonna H. Laoly


Message from Endy Bayuni:

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
Chief Editor
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta, Indonesia


Message from Edward Lee:

"Decoupling of continents in today's globalised world is essentially a myth. As the
current financial crisis has demonstrated, not a single economy can claim to be  completely immuned. It is only a matter of degree that each of us is affected. Hence, the need to emphasize the importance in the study of events and trends in a flat world. The founding of IRSEA will serve the cause of  deeper understanding and friendship between Romania and Asia in particular, and Europe and Asia in general. It will contribute towards the renaissance of closer political, economic and social ties between two great continents and civilisations.
Warmest congratulations, IRSEA. Yours is a step in the right direction "


Message from S. Qureshi:

I express congratulations on behalf of the Society of Asian Civilizations Pakistan as well as on my own behalf on the launching of IRSEA on 7th November, 2008. In fact, the launching of IRSEA is a landmark development in the academic field which is sure to contirbute positively not only in Romania but elsewhere in the world. Here in Pakistan, we are all out to help and support your activities in whateve way we can.Yours Sincerely,

Prof. Dr. Z. A. Qureshi, President, SAC/Head, Dept. of International Relations, National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, Pakistan


Message from Ali Alatas:

"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,
Ali Alatas

Message from Ahmad Watik Pratiknya, The Habibie Center:


On behalf of The Habibie Center, we would like to deliver our happiness regarding to the establishment of the Romanian for European-Asian Studies (IRSEA) by the initiative and lead of  His excellency Ambassador George Savuica. In the future , we hope that this institution will be very helpful to build understanding and relationship between countries in Asia and Europe.
With this consideration, by October 2008 the Habibie Center has signed the cooperation charter with the IRSEA.
Jakarta October 13, 2008

Dr. Ahmad Watik Pratiknya
Executive Director

The Habibie Center

Message from 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 institut as a tink tank body in Romania to conduct researches and studies on Europre-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 institut 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 institut you will certainly be able to intoduce 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 relaionship 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 institut will be of a great benifit 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:

Dear Ambassador:

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.


Message from Dr. Ioan Voicu, Visiting Professor Assumption University, Bangkok :


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 FoundationI 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.

Yours sincerely,
Peter Ryan