Fionnuala Croke 2014Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As Director of the Chester Beatty Library, I am honoured to take over as Chair of ASEMUS for the next three-year term. Together with Alan Chong (Director of the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore; replaced by Kennie Ting in September 2016) as Vice-Chair, and the rest of the Executive Committee, it will be my task to continue the excellent work that has been done since the foundation of ASEMUS.

At the meeting of the ASEMUS Executive Committee in Vienna in September 2014, one of the items on our agenda was to update our Mission Statement and goals as certain words and phrases reflected particular concerns of the museum community a decade ago. So, over the next months the EXCO will revise the wording of the Mission Statement and articulated aims of ASEMUS and share these with you on the website.

Let us remember that the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) is the only permanent institution of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) and ASEMUS – which was founded at the Stockholm meeting in 2000 – is the museum arm or network of the ASEM countries. ASEMUS is the flagship programme of ASEF, and we look forward to continuing and developing the excellent relationship we enjoy with our colleagues from the ASEF Culture Department.

Their budget, and the funds they have available for ASEMUS depend upon the member countries. We need to do what we can to advocate for ASEMUS in our own country, with our contacts in the Ministry – if possible with our ASEF Governor – to ensure that they understand the potential and the power of culture. The Museum Community has the experience and knowledge, as well as unlimited potential, to support and develop the objectives of ASEM. We can start the conversations at a cultural level, we can build bridges in a safe and neutral context, and our governments can follow through on those conversations at a trade, tourism, and economic level.

So, let’s try to ensure that culture is a priority amidst the discussions by ASEF Governors. If additional funding for ASEMUS can be forthcoming, this will help us enormously to develop practical programmes exchanging expertise and experience- in the way that we already operate the Educational  Exchange and Outreach Programme.

In the meantime, we will continue to encourage new members from our individual networks of contacts; we will seek to involve the energies and ideas of younger professionals; and we will advocate for museums and the potential of our role in strengthening ties between Asia and Europe.

Kind regards,

Fionnuala Croke

Director, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Chair of the ASEMUS Executive Committee

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