The Asia-Europe Foundation promotes greater mutual understanding between Asia and Europe through intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Through ASEF, civil society concerns are included as a vital component of deliberations of the ASEM. ASEF was established in February 1997 by the participating governments of ASEM and has since implemented over 600 projects, engaging over 17,000 direct participants as well as reaching out to a much wider audience in Asia and Europe.
CCIVS mostly cooperate with ASEF “People-to-People Exchange” department. The department conducts activities aiming to improve and support the mobility for the youth of Asia and Europe and to increase awareness and cooperation between the two regions.
In 2001 the ASEF set up a new strategy to promote the International Year of Volunteering 2001. In this context the Asia-Europe-Co-operation in Voluntary Service – VolunAEt activities were initiated. The first project organised under this pillar, entitled the Asia-Europe Young Volunteers Exchange (AEYVE) 2001, was co-organised with the CCIVS, who became ASEF’s long-lasting partners in the field of volunteering.
In order to complement the capacity building and strengthened co-operation focus of the AEYVE, the Networking Asia-Europe Young Volunteers (NAEYV) Conference was set-up in 2007. The conference was designed specifically for presidents, directors, board members, managers or co-ordinators of voluntary service organisations and tackled new fields of concern such as lobby and advocacy or networking and partnership building, impact, recognition and policies of voluntary service.
In 2011, 21 enthusiastic volunteers from 14 ASEM countries were engaged in a 6-week project “Health on Stage”. Divided in three groups, the volunteers organised forum theatre performances with and for the local communities in South India. They worked closely with the slum-dwellers in Bangalore, workers from an industrial belt in Chennai and villagers in Mysore. The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) and Field Services & Intercultural Learning (FSL-India) were organising this project: the 10th Asia-Europe Young Volunteers Exchange (AEYVE): Health on Stage, from 20th August to 1st October 2011.