At the 1996 inaugural meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)—a summit that brings together the heads of state and government of Asian and European nations—the Japanese government proposed that networks between research institutions in these two regions be strengthened through the establishment of a forum for intellectual dialogue. As a result, the Council for Asia-Europe Cooperation (CAEC) was created and, in the ensuing years, it helped shape the agenda for the ASEM process. The main purpose of the CAEC was to encourage and facilitate greater cooperation among Asian and European intellectuals and policy specialists in order to enhance discussions about the future direction of Asia-Europe relations. CAEC is managed by a steering committee comprising 12 research institutions in Asia and Europe. JCIE serves as the Asian Secretariat while the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at Trier University in Germany is the European Secretariat.

Beginning in 2003, three task forces undertook studies in preparation for the October 2004 ASEM summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. 

For related information, please see the description of JCIE’s review of the first 10 years of ASEM’s efforts to enhance Asia-Europe cooperation.