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About the Asia Society Texas Center

ASTC Executive Director Martha Blackwelder describes how the Texas Center is poised to become a "major cultural force" in Houston. (5 min., 10 sec.)


Established in 1979 by visionary Houstonians led by former First Lady Barbara Bush and Ambassador Roy M. Huffington, Asia Society Texas Center shares the mission that inspired John D. Rockefeller 3rd when he founded Asia Society more than 50 years ago in New York City.

That mission is to be the world’s leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States.

Asia Society Texas Center brings together thought leaders, policy experts, cultural luminaries, and the general public to explore issues shaping Asia, the United States, and the 21st-century world. Through lectures, panels, briefings, and conferences, we foster Houston’s growing stature as an Asia Pacific city. We also bring to Houston the rich traditions of Asian art and culture, from Sufi musicians to best-selling novelists.

In April 2012 we will open our new 38,000-square-foot headquarters in the heart of Houston’s Museum District. Designed by renowned Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, the Center will house our public programming and be a magnet for Asian-themed activities in the city.

The 280-seat Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater will allow us to dramatically expand our music, dance, and film offerings. Also for the first time we will have our own 4,000-square-foot Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery for art exhibitions. And the 3,000-square-foot Edward Rudge Allen III Education Center, which can be divided into as many as three classrooms, enables us to launch an ambitious schedule of education programs for both K-12 students and adults.

The future builds on an already impressive program record. In 2010-11 we hosted Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, New York Times best-selling novelist Lisa See, China expert Harry Harding, and a concert that married Nepali folk music and Appalachian bluegrass.

And that was just the start. Once in the new building, we expect to double our program schedule. Asia Society Texas Center: Houston’s window on Asia.