EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REMARKS
Assalamualaikum wbt and greetings.
The Asia-Europe Institute (AEI) has successfully established itself as one of Southeast Asia’s leading institutions for social science postgraduate research and teaching. Established under the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) process with a philosophy of enhancing Asia-Europe relations, AEI aims to foster exchange of students and scholars with a view to develop better understanding of the cultures, histories, politics, institutions, economics, business and legal practices of both regions. The origins of the AEI can be traced back to the idea of establishing closer higher education linkages between Asia and Europe under the provisions of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) initiative in 1996.
In 1997, the Government of Malaysia established the Asia-Europe Centre (AEC), the first step of Asia-Europe University cooperation in education designed to support the Fourth Pillar of the ASEM process. Three years after its inception, on January 2nd 2000, the AEC was transformed into a full-fledged academic institution. It was renamed Asia-Europe Institute (AEI) and hosted by the University of Malaya, the oldest university in Malaysia.
Over the years, AEI has received staunch support from the Government of Malaysia, working in partnership with other ASEM countries. It reflects Malaysia’s commitment to internationalising higher education and advancing the idea of the AEI as an educational infrastructure and knowledge of network for Asia and Europe in the 21st century.
AEI has managed to enhance its position through activities centred on the process of teaching and learning, such as lecture, seminars, conferences, and research. The cooperation and support of local and foreign academicians, various embassies, as well as AEI’s staff and students have made it possible for AEI to organise and participate in these activities at both a national and international level.
Since its establishment, AEI has been one of the Southeast Asia’s leading institutions and has made staunch efforts to bridge the gap between Asia and Europe through academic research and postgraduate studies. With regard to research, AEI has broadened its international network through collaborative projects such as the Islam and Multiculturalism project, and we also have many upcoming projects that promise to further strengthen the ties that we have established. In addition to this, we are also proud to say that we have, in our International Master’s and doctoral programmes, a student body that encompasses various EU and Asian nations, which reflects the diversity and adaptability of our programmes. Our postgraduate programmes are conducted by highly qualified local and foreign visiting professors.
In addition to its academic pursuits, AEI is also committed in ensuring the continuation of the various AEI Lecture Series, which are delivered by renowned experts in the field. This includes the Eminent Persons Lecture Series and the Ambassador Lecture Series, a series of public lectures delivered by our Visiting Professors, public figures, and diplomats. Our previous esteemed speakers include former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tan Sri Syed Hamid bin Syed Jaafar Albar, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, His Excellency Ruud Lubbers, and the ASEAN Secretary-General His Excellency Dr. Surin Pitsuwan. Our Lecture Series provides a platform for these public figures to share their experiences and a common medium for the public to interact with them. In 2012, for example, we have had the pleasure of hosting a lecture by the former Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia and Grand Master of the Japanese Crown Prince's Household Datuk Issei Nomura, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Look East Policy. Other activities include the publication of Occasional Papers for the benefit of the University and the general public, as well as participating in academic exhibitions, among others.
I would like to extend my most sincere appreciation to everyone involved in the activities held thus far — our lecturers and visiting professors, the ambassadors, the members of staff and also the students. May your unstinting efforts and dedication in fulfilling the vision and mission of AEI to take the University of Malaya to even greater heights be blessed by Allah s.w.t. the Almighty.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DR. MD NASRUDIN MD AKHIR