10 November 2020

Call to host the ASEM Education Secretariat – Watch the AES Video!

Call to host the ASEM Education Secretariat – Watch the AES Video!

The ASEM Education Secretariat, currently hosted by Belgium, is looking for a new host to take over the tasks of the Belgian Secretariat as of December 2021 until December 2025.

This call is being launched to all Asian ASEM Education partners and stakeholders as Asia and Europe are taking turns in hosting the secretariat and the Secretariat is currently hosted in Europe.

Watch the AES Video!

Presentation of the ASEM Education Secretariat – English subtitles are available

Background information on the ASEM Education Secretariat

Brief history

The ASEM Education Secretariat (AES) has been established in Germany, in 2009 by ASEM Ministers of Education in order to ensure effective coordination of ASEM Education Process initiatives, projects and activities.

Contrary to other similar organisations and structures, the ASEM Education Secretariat has no established headquarters and ASEM countries take turn hosting it every four years.

Germany was the inaugural host of the AES (2009-2013), followed by Indonesia that took over from Germany from 1 October 2013. The current secretariat is hosted by Belgium, since the end of 2017 by both the French-speaking community (Ministry of Wallonia Brussels Federation) and the Flemish Community (Ministry of Education and Training).

The ASEM Education Secretariat is currently the only rotating secretariat that has been established under the ASEM Process and has proven its added value by supporting the ASEM Education Process in all its dimensions which are further explained below.

Responsibilities and tasks of the AES

The ASEM Education Secretariat is by no means a traditional secretariat as its mandate is much broader than merely administrative tasks. Over time, the AES has become one of the cornerstones of the ASEM Education Process. It facilitates and coordinates the different ASEM Education activities, projects and initiatives and ensures effective communication about these projects and initiatives as well as communication between partners and stakeholders on a multilateral basis. The AES facilitates overall processes such as monitoring reports, preparation documents for the political meetings, Strategy papers, discussion papers, etc. in close collaboration with hosts and partners. In other words, the mandate of the AES encompasses a wide variety of tasks. Below you can find some more details on the roles and tasks that have been entrusted to the AES.

  1. Organization of Meetings
  2. Liaison & contact point
  3. Representation role
  4. Communication role

First of all, the AES contributes to the organization of all ASEM Education meetings, not only senior officials’ and ministerial meetings, but also smaller-scale events such as seminars, workshops or expert group meetings and peer-learning activities. In collaboration with host countries, it sets the agenda for the events and supports practical and logistical aspects to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Secondly, the AES also liaises on a regular basis with partners and stakeholders. It acts as a central hub and contact point for the ASEM Education Process: answering questions, coordinating requests and disseminating relevant documents and information regarding on-going initiatives and projects.

Thirdly, the AES attends regional and international events and conferences organized by ASEM partners and stakeholders, as well as potential stakeholders in order to keep a finger on the pulse of relevant and complementary activities. Where appropriate, it also assumes a representation role, presenting ASEM Education activities projects and initiatives.

Finally, the AES is in charge of external communication and uses different channels depending on the target audience it wants to reach. These include a dedicated website (www.asem-education.org), a newsletter and social media.

Communicating about ASEM Education work and projects with a wider audience is quintessential to make the ASEM Process more visible, identify potential synergies with relevant actors and contribute to making ASEM mobility programmes more attractive to students, researchers and institutions. Communication can, therefore, play an important role in realizing the ambitions of the ASEM Education Process.

Structure and organization of the AES

In the framework of the ASEM Education Process, commitment always occurs on a voluntary basis and this golden rule also applies to the Secretariat. This means that there is no strict hierarchical structure to follow or pre-defined budget to allocate to AES activities.

The different host countries have organized the AES in a different way: the German Federal Ministry of Education has delegated the responsibility of hosting the AES to the DAAD (the German Academic Exchange Service), the Indonesian Ministry of Education hosted the AES and appointed officials and experts from its Ministry to carry out its tasks, while in Belgium, the AES is co-hosted by two Ministries of Education (French-speaking Community and Flemish Community) both delegating 1 full-time equivalent to the AES.

In other words, the country volunteering to host the Secretariat can freely decide whether it wants to hire extra staff, split the tasks between employees and experts from its Ministry or delegate some or all tasks to another national organisation or agency. The tasks can be distributed among a few full-time staff members or can be delegated to different profiles, such as a communication officer, an administrative officer, a policy officer or advisor, etc.

The host can also choose to ask for temporary support by inviting seconded experts from foreign Ministries or stakeholder organisations.

Benefits for the host country

Hosting the AES is a unique opportunity to discover the inner workings of the ASEM Education Process through a hands-on experience, while making sure the ASEM Education Process stays relevant in the future. In addition, the host also has a say in the agenda setting, as well as the strategical planning of all ASEM Education activities in line with the ASEM Education Strategy 2030 and its Action Plan to be endorsed during the next ASEM Education Ministers Meeting.

The work of the AES provides opportunities to meet and exchange on a regular basis with experts, higher education institutions’ representatives, international organisations and stakeholders to name but a few. This allows it not only to emphasize the international dimension within its own country and institutions, but also to forge close relationships with a wide network of training and education actors.


If your Ministry is interested in picking up the torch after Germany, Indonesia and Belgium and helping to write the next page of ASEM history, the current ASEM Education Secretariat is willing to answer all your questions and will of course support you during the transfer of the tasks and responsibilities.

Please contact us on info@asem-education.org