28 February 2018

21st ASEFSU “Youth with Disabilities: Shaping Inclusive ASEM Societies”

21st ASEFSU “Youth with Disabilities: Shaping Inclusive ASEM Societies”

The 21st ASEF Summer University (ASEFSU21), took place from 27 January to 10 February 2018 in Melbourne, Australia & Christchurch, New Zealand. The project invited a group of 48 young professionals and students from 48 ASEM Partner countries to reflect on the theme “Youth with Disabilities: Shaping Inclusive ASEM Societies”.  The participants were between 18-30 years old, about 20 live with different types of disabilities.

Over a period of 2 weeks the ASEFSU21 covered 8 Focus Areas: Mobility; Rights Protection & Legislation; Economic Security & Employment; Inclusive Education; Health & Well-Being; Participation in Society; Access to Information; and Attitudes & Perceptions.

During the 1st week, the participants acquired knowledge on the project topic through workshops, trainings, lectures and study visits. During the 2nd week, they were involved in an “Innovathon” that challenged them to come up with innovative solutions to pressing issues faced by ASEM youth with disabilities. These Challenges were hosted by Asian & European organisations and institutions supporting and advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. Upon finalisation of the on-site phase of the project, the participants will partake in a follow-up phase within which they finalised their last ASEFSU21 assignments as well as promoted the outcomes of the project. 

The Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services of Australia, the Hon Jane PRENTICE MP, addressed the ASEFSU21 participants through a video message at the Opening Ceremony in Melbourne. HE Phillip GIBSON, Special Adviser and Director Christchurch & New Zealand’s Special Envoy for Disaster Risk Management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand shared in person his views on Asia-Europe relations at the Closing Ceremony in Christchurch. In addition, the project had a close engagement with Australian and New Zealand local communities as it took place around the dates of both countries’ National Days. 

ASEFSU21 was organised together with Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Canterbury. The National Centre for Research on Europe of the University of Canterbury has collaborated with ASEF in the past on a large scale Asia-Europe perception study, the collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology was a first one. ASEFSU21 was ASEF’s 1st youth project with a mixed-ability participant audience. It was also ASEF’s 1st big-scale project in Australia and in New Zealand. 

The project was supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (New Zealand), Deakin University (Australia), RMIT University (Australia), the University of Alicante (Spain), Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) (Australia), the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), SPD (Singapore), and SkillWise (New Zealand). 

For a full visual summary of the project, please visit: http://bit.ly/asefsu_photos

Find more information on the 21st Summer University on the ASEF Website.