The European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) is a leading Think and Do Tank based in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, focusing on EU-Asia relations since its founding in 1989. As a policy research centre, its aim is to promote understanding between the European Union and Asia. In addition, it aims to strengthen ties between Asia and Europe and to ensure in-depth, comprehensive research and information exchange platform between policymakers, members of academia and think tanks, and civil society.
Geographically, EIAS focuses on South Asia, North-East Asia and South-East Asia, and has recently broaden its geographical scope to include Central Asia as well, covering a wide range of policy-related domains. By doing so, EIAS seeks to provide information to policy makers in Europe and Asia, as well as on a global scale, offering academic and hands-on expertise to bear on decision-making processes with regard to EU-Asia affairs and developments in Asia, such as free trade and strategic partnership agreements, and other key developments. EIAS also acts as a forum for discussion, dialogue and frequent exchanges of ideas, bringing together all relevant stakeholders from the institutional level, diplomatic missions, academia, the corporate sector, civil society, the media and all other important segments of society.
By undertaking research, carrying out (commissioned) research projects and providing in-depth information through research papers, newsletters, news updates and other publications, EIAS seeks to act as a focal point for EU-Asia relations and studies in Europe. Essential for EIAS is its keenness to improve understanding of developments in Asia and the appreciation of the importance of the EU’s relations with Asia, by acting as a forum for discussion, organising research and disseminating information.
The research and project activities of EIAS cover a wide range of issues, with a focus on trade, finance, economics, industrial and technological innovation, R&D, CSR, migration, sustainable development, geopolitics, connectivity, and a major emphasis on improving people-to-people ties through education, cultural and other exchanges. In particular, EIAS also focuses in identifying long-term potentials and niche areas for the further development of EU-Asia relations. The institute is very committed to implementing the results and outcomes of its research activities.
EIAS also organises training programmes and capacity building activities for government officials, civil society and professionals from the corporate sector on EU-Asia relations, with a specific focus on the European institutions and policies.
Reaching out to the wider public and all stakeholders involved, EIAS regularly organises events, workshops and book talks in cooperation with academic, diplomatic and institutional partners. Speakers often include representatives from Asian missions in Brussels, representatives from the European institutions, officials from non-profits and the corporate sector, academics and journalists, in order to give a broad overview of all relevant actors in EU-Asia relations. Some of the high-level policymakers and academics to have spoken at EIAS in 2017 include Khurram Dastgir Khan, former Commerce Minister of Pakistan; Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal; Asian Development Bank Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada; Ruslan Davletov, Uzbekistan’s Minister of Justice; Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh; political commentator and analyst Richard Heydarian; and Vasantha Senanayake, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka.
EIAS also travels regularly to Asia to participate in summits and academic conferences. This year EIAS has participated in the “International Conference on Migration and Displacement” held at Government College University in Lahore (Pakistan); the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Yokohama (Japan); and the high-level conference “Central Asia: One Past and a Common Future, Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Mutual Prosperity” in Samarkand (Uzbekistan).
The EIAS team combines the experience and networks of senior specialists in EU-Asia relations, including academics, diplomats and professionals of the private sector, with the enthusiasm and skills of the junior team members. EIAS participates in Europe-Asia networks of research and analysis, drawing on an active network of several hundred collaborators and contacts across the EU and Asia, at leading Universities, as well as within Think Tanks and specialised research centres. The EIAS network comprises a rich cross-section of disciplines and sectors, officials and civil society actors, policy makers and policy shapers, scholars and diplomats, from all over the world. For specific research projects, conferences and seminars, this constitutes a unique intellectual resource, built up during more than 25 years.
Some of the think tanks and institutions that EIAS has collaborated with include the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), the Brussels Academy for China-Europe Studies (BACES), the China Arts Festival in the EU, the University of East Anglia and the EU-India Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.