The Asia Society has centers around the world in the US (Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC) Hong Kong, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul Shanghai, Makati City, and Melbourne. All of these centers are overseen by the Society’s headquarters in New York, along with a center on US- China relations. The New York headquarters exhibits the Rockefeller collection of Asian Art. This collection holds pieces from many Asian countries including, China, Japan, India and Korea among others.
The Asia Society defines the region of Asia as the area from Japan to Iran, from central Asia to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The Asia Society is a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose aim is to build awareness about Asian politics, business, education, arts and culture through education. The organization sponsors the exhibitions of art, performance, film, lectures and programs for students and teachers. The programs are aimed at increasing knowledge of society with a focus on human rights, environment, global health and the position of women. In addition the Society takes part in events such as co-sponsoring the US- Asia update round table series at New York’s council on foreign relation.
Asia Society was founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd. Initially established to promote greater knowledge of Asia in the US, the Society today is a global institution—with offices throughout the US and Asia—that fulfills its educational mandate through a wide range of cross-disciplinary programming. As economies and cultures have become more interconnected, the Society's programs have expanded to address Asian American issues, the effects of globalization, and pressing concerns in Asia including human rights, the status of women, and environmental and global health issues such as HIV/AIDS.
The Asia Society Museum is host to both traditional and contemporary exhibitions, film screenings, literature, performing and visual arts. The headquarters’ holdings include works from more than thirty Asian-Pacific countries including Hindu and Buddhist statuary, temple carvings, Chinese ceramics, and Japanese paintings—dating from around 2000 B.C. to the 19th-century. Contemporary Asian art shows also take place. Exhibits change several times throughout the year. In 2001 a major renovation of the headquarters was undertaken doubling the size of the four public galleries. Upstairs, six of the eight floors are devoted to conference rooms, lounges, offices and research centers.
The headquarters also houses a museum shop and café. Forbes has listed the Garden Court Cafe on its All-Star Eateries in New York list several times.