In March 1996, the leaders of 25 European and Asian countries, together with the European Commission, convened in Bangkok, Thailand, for the inaugural Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). This historic summit paved the way for the establishment of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) one year later in 1997. The agreement by the ASEM leaders to found ASEF can be found in the Ministerial Declaration of the 1st ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (FMM1).

ASEF has been running human rights seminars on shared concerns between Europe and Asia for 18 years. The results of these seminars can be found on their website, and have informed UN, EU, national and international social policy.

This year, from the 4-8 November, the 18th Informal ASEM Human Rights Seminar will be held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on the theme of “Human Rights and Prevention of Violent Extremism” and it is our absolute pleasure to announce that our Director, Dr Theo Gavrielides will be acting as one of the two main Rapporteurs for the Seminar.

Dr Gavrielides has always believed that the tension between human rights and counter-terrorism/ anti-radicalisation policies has created a vicious circle of failures, mistakes and a blame culture. He believes that long term solutions to this problem can be found by creating a bridge between the two norms and their legislative manifestation at the national and international levels.

The foundation of building this bridge will be laid out at the 18th Informal ASEM Human Rights Seminar which will also host four simultaneous closed-door working groups that will address to following topics in detail:

WG1 – Push and Pull Factors of Violent Extremism
WG2 – Targeting Violent Extremism at the Local Level
WG3 – Violent Extremism and Women
WG4 – Youth, Education and Prevention of Violent Extremism

The Human Rights Seminar series is co-organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (nominated by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The host of the 18th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Indonesia.

If you want updates on the Seminar as and when it happens, make sure you follow our Twitter @_IARS_


Dr Gavrielides, Founder and Director of IARS -

‘I have said many times that in order to win the “war on terror”, we first need to raise the mirror of responsibility and look carefully the reflection. In this mirror, we will all see who is to be blamed first for the failures of society that lead to extreme views and gradually corrupt our ability to live together.’


Original Image can be found here on Flickr