On 25-26 November 2021, the Royal Government of Cambodia will host the 13th Summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13). On this occasion, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia (MCFA) in partnership with the European Union and the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), will present the ASEM Cultural Festival 2021, the official cultural side-event of ASEM13 which celebrates the cultural diversity from and artistic exchange between Asia and Europe.

The ASEM Cultural Festival 2021 titled ‘Asia and Europe: Cultures Connect’ is a multidisciplinary arts festival taking place from 22 to 26 November 2021 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and online. This year, over 30 events featuring over 100 Asian and European artists will be showcase the rich cultural diversity and brilliant creative collaborations from Asia and Europe through theatre, dance, music, visual arts and interdisciplinary presentations.

A curtain raiser offering a slice of the festival programme to live audiences in Brussels takes place from 15-26 November 2021.

The opening event on 22 November 2021 presents a special presentation titled ‘Colourful Cambodia’ featuring classical, folk and contemporary dances performed by exceptional artistes from Cambodia and ASEM Partner countries. The performances include a blessing dance as a traditional way to welcome our guests, a folk dance depicting the traditional spirit-worship ceremony of rice-planting and harvesting, ‘Pounding the Gum-Lacquer’ a dance that expressing love, Rice’ a Khmer contemporary dance portraying a dynamic and positive drive of Cambodian youth, ‘Gems from Mozart at Angkor’ a performance piece highlighting Asia-Europe partnership through its artistic approaches and the ASEM flags dance.

During the 5 days of the Festival, from 22 to 26 November 2021, artistic events representing over 20 ASEM Partners, including dance and theatre performances, music concerts, visual arts and photography exhibitions, installations and conversations with artists, will be presented on the official website (www.ASEMculturalfestival.com). The on-site programme of the Festival includes 6 art exhibitions hosted at the magnificent National Museum of Cambodia and 4 film screenings at the Major Cineplex in Phnom Penh.

Over the last almost two years, the global uncertainties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought about unprecedented challenges. These times of global change have underscored the importance of cooperation and mutual understanding between Asia and Europe. Under the theme ‘Enhancing ASEM Partnerships through Arts and Culture’, the Festival aims to promote people-to-people connectivity between Asia and Europe in the field of arts and culture, thereby enhancing ASEM partnership through connections and collaborations.

The ASEM Cultural Festival takes place each year on the sidelines of ASEM Summits or Foreign Ministers’ Meetings, as one of the official side events. It endeavours to explore the enormous potential and dynamic synergy of intercultural collaborations and artistic co-creations between the two continents, as a flagship cultural platform in the framework of the ASEM Leaders’ Meetings. The Festival also aims to increase awareness about the ASEM Process among the arts communities of both regions and the general public. The Festival is a manifestation of the ASEM philosophy and value to enhance collaboration and development among ASEM Partners.