11 Dec 2012

Strengthening Swiss-Asian Relations

The World Trade Institute opened its doors to new opportunities for cooperation between Switzerland and the Asian region on Friday, 7th of December.

In conjunction with the Embassy of Indonesia in Berne, the Institute hosted a seminar entitled, “Asia-Europe Relations after the 9th ASEM Summit: Indonesian and Swiss Perspectives,” attracting government officials and academics, as well as members of the media, the private sector, the diplomatic corps and think tanks.

Pierre Sauvé, Deputy Managing Director and Director of Studies WTI, moderated the event. Its purpose – according to the Ambassador to Indonesia to the Swiss Confederation, His Excellency Djoko Susilo – was to share insights on Swiss foreign policy towards the Asian region within the framework of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and to convey Indonesia’s experience as one of the founding members of ASEM.

His Excellency Dr Beat Nobs, Assistant State Secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Federation, highlighted the importance of Asia for Switzerland. He emphasised that the European continent spans beyond members of the European Union. Professor Dr Heiner Hänggi, Assistant Director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, elaborated on this point when he presented the historical significance of ASEM membership to Switzerland. Drawing on prospects and challenges for the future of ASEM, His Excellency Arif Havas Oegroseno, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Belgium, outlined cooperation opportunities for Switzerland and Asia within the Meeting’s framework. Professor Dr Bambang Cipto, Vice Rector and Lecturer at the University of Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, took this point one step further, focusing specifically on the potential for collaboration within the fields of politics, economics and education.

By increasing public awareness of the potential of the Asian region, the seminar’s participants – from ASEM member countries such as Germany, Spain, Belgium, Romania, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, India and China – hope to strengthen relations between Asia and Europe .

Source: Indonesian Embassy in Berne / World Trade Institute