The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) held its 9th Summit in November 2012, marking 16 years of existence. Because of its biennial character, around the time of Summits, ASEM usually gains increased attention. And it is around each Summit that questions about ASEM's relevance and contribution to global politics re-surface. While political and economic cooperation have attracted much anticipation and analyses, this essay draws attention to the under-researched socio-cultural pillar. It re-assesses the role of socio-cultural cooperation in the relations between Asia-Europe and its relevance to the Asia-Europe Meeting process overall. The study analyses the stream of activities and the design of programmes coordinated by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the only permanent institution of the ASEM process, responsible for the "third-pillar" implementations. ASEF in this analysis serves as a reflection of ASEM, and by looking into working mechanisms and evaluating ASEF's effectiveness, the author evaluates ASEM. The purpose of this study is to offer the first comprehensive analysis of Asia-Europe Foundation, which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, by examining its relationship with the ASEM process. The study evaluates ASEF's contribution to Asia-Europe inter-regional cooperation and outlines the limitations that the Foundation faces. A multi-method research approach is adopted including data from the ASEF archives and reports of its activities, and analysis based on the existing literature and official documents of ASEM and ASEF, as well as in-depth interviews conducted by the author.