Mission & History
Mission & History
With 11 centers across the globe, Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context. Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, the Society provides insight, generates ideas, and promotes collaboration to address present challenges and create a shared future. Asia Society Texas Center operates as a separate 501(c)(3) organization and is an affiliate of the Asia Society global network.
Farsighted Houstonians led by former First Lady Barbara Bush and former Ambassador Roy M. Huffington established Asia Society Texas Center in 1979. Sharing the vision of John D. Rockefeller 3rd, who founded Asia Society in New York in 1956, they recognized the need to educate Americans about Asia and to forge closer ties between Houston and the peoples and institutions of Asia.
In 1995 the Texas Center’s Board of Directors voted to build a home for its programs and activities. The Board selected Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, best-known in this country for his renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, to design the building, located in Houston’s Museum District.
Completed in early fall 2011, the 40,000-square-foot Center features the 273-seat Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater, Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery, Edward Rudge Allen III Education Center, Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall, and more. It opened to the public April 14, 2012.
With the opening of the Center, Asia Society takes its place as a major educational and cultural institution in the region, the driving force in transforming Houston into an Asia-Pacific city.