Asia Society Opens in France, First Center in the European Union
New York - Paris, November 3, 2021 — The Asia Society announced today the opening of its new center in France, its first in the European Union.
Based in Paris, Asia Society France will work closely with other global centers of the Asia Society, including Asia Society Switzerland in Zürich, to advance the organization’s mission: navigating shared futures for Asia and the world.
Asia Society France is the newest member of the global Asia Society family. With France, the Asia Society now comprises 14 locations across Asia – Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines – the United States, and Europe.
Asia Society President and CEO, and former Prime Minister of Australia, the Honorable Kevin Rudd commented: “The Asia Society was established sixty-five years ago by John D. Rockefeller 3rd to foster understanding between the United States and Asia. In recent years we have extended our reach, underscored by today’s launch of Asia Society France. We aim to be a partner for France and the European Union in navigating the challenges and opportunities of a resurgent Asia.”
“France and Asia enjoy deep and longstanding ties rooted in history. France has a significant economic and human presence in Asia and is home to diverse communities born in, or connected to, Asia” said Serge Dumont, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Asia Society France. “Establishing Asia Society France expands the organization’s connectivity with the European Union and will provide policy makers the expertise and tools necessary to better understand, navigate and nurture the relationships between France, Europe and Asia at a time when building trust and promoting genuine intercultural dialogue has never been more urgent and critical.”
Duncan Clark, a Global Trustee of the Asia Society, Founding Trustee of Asia Society France, investor, advisor in the technology sector in Asia, and author of the book ‘Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built’ commented: “With Asia’s resurgence our goal is to make Asia Society a trusted part of the French ecosystem, the country where I was raised. The hexagon shape of France is a perfect match for our six-sided mission in arts and culture, education, policy, sustainability, business, and technology.”
Newly registered in France as a not-for-profit association, Asia Society France, like the Asia Society, is an independent organization with no affiliation with any government.
The new center will officially kick off with a conference in Paris on November 4, 2021. Themed “Embrace Contradictions,” the event will bring together expert and influential speakers from various backgrounds and geographies to discuss how France and Asia can embrace these contradictions to navigate a shared global future in the areas of health, geopolitics, innovation, sustainability, art, and philanthropy.
Speakers include The Honorable Kevin Rudd, President and CEO of the Asia Society and former Prime Minister of Australia; Alain Mérieux, Chairman of Institut Mérieux; Fleur Pellerin, investor and former Minister of Culture & Communications; Lee Seung-yoon, CEO & Founder of Radish Fiction, Global Strategy Officer at Kakao Entertainment; Lee Kai-Fu, Chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, artificial intelligence expert, entrepreneur and author; and Natacha Valla, Economist and Dean of Sciences Po School of Management and Innovation.
The event is held in partnership with INALCO (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales), the longest standing University specializing in Asian culture in France, and one of the oldest in the world, at their historical building on the Left Bank of the Seine River.
Asia Society France prepared for this launch over a year ago as the initiative of eight founding members who share a deep knowledge of and interest in Asia. The founders include three Global Trustees of the Asia Society - Duncan Clark, Fritz Demopoulos, and Thierry Porté – plus Jean-Michel Dumont, Laurent Therezien, Marine Mallinson, Serge Dumont, and Will Plummer.
Over the last ten months, a series of pre-launch activities and expert conversations were organized which included:
- Former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in conversation with Asia Society President & CEO and former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd, discussing the future of multilateralism.
- Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, spoke to our group on sustainability.
- Eric Labaye, President of École Polytechnique, and Bill Kirby, Professor of China Studies at Harvard University, looked at globalization from the prism of higher education, and discussed whether competition or cooperation will prevail.
- Emmanuel Lenain, France’s Ambassador to India, shared his views on that nation’s prospects in a reshaped world, and France’s role in South Asia
- Ambassador Sophie Bermann, columnists Pierre Haski (France Inter, L’Obs and Reporters without Borders), Victor Mallet (Financial Times), and Tamim Asey, Afghanistan’s former deputy minister of defense, discussed the implications of the Afghan withdrawal and AUKUS controversy for France’s place in the world.
- Other panel discussions included French entrepreneurs in Asia with five founders from Japan, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, as well as “Expats and Nextpats in Asia: Post-pandemic outlook for the expat/ immigration experience – a vital channel for dialogue.
Asia Society France is planning an ambitious program of events and initiatives, across France and online. The next event will take place on December 16, 2021 on sustainability.
The Asia Society navigates shared futures for Asia and the world across policy, arts and culture, education, sustainability, business, and technology. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with cultural centers and public buildings in New York, Hong Kong, and Houston, and offices in Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., and Zurich.