Here you will find a curated list of some of the more dynamic, non-profit organisations around the world which celebrate & promote cultural diversity. Each link has been tested and works.
The Melbourne-based chapter of the New York-headquartered Asia Society is busy, well-funded and dynamic. It stages many events each year, including many lectures.
Asian Arts Society of Australia
The Asian Arts Society of Australia (TAASA) was formed in 1991 and is a national, independent association promoting knowledge and appreciation of Asian visual, applied and performance arts, across history to the present and covering all parts of Asia. It holds regular lectures, study tours and produces a quarterly journal for its members.
Ceramic Society of Indonesia
Himpunan Keramik Indonesia (HKI) or The Ceramic Society of Indonesia was founded in 1973 by Adam Malik, Vice President of Indonesia and several others. Members have gatherings several times a year to hear speakers from within the Society or guest lecturers from other countries. Meetings are also held so that members can review each other’s collections and to share knowledge. There are occasional excursions to places of interest like Museums, kilns and excavation sites.
The Lontar Foundation is an invaluable, independent, not-for-profit organisation based in Jakarta which promotes Indonesian literature, authors and culture through the translation of its literary works. It has also sponsored the publication of various volumes including one on the traditional manuscripts of Indonesia.
Ilham Gallery, located in Ilham Tower in central Kuala Lumpur, is a superb, large exhibition space devoted to contemporary and modern art from Southeast Asia and the rest of Asia.
It is privately funded and non-profit. Exhibitions change on a regular basis. Admission is always free, and well-produced catalogues for each exhibition usually are available.
Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
MBRAS was founded in what was Malaya in 1877. It is a learned society devoted to the task of collecting, recording and diffusing information about Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Its primary objective is to promote a greater interest in the study of the region, and to this end, it publishes a journal and carries out other scholarly activities.
Its journal, the Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society is simply outstanding.
The Society has more than 300 members in 2018 drawn from across Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and overseas.
Peranakan Association Singapore
A busy and dynamic association for those with an interest in Peranakan, Straits Chinese or Baba/Nonya heritage in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia. Lectures, forums, dinners and other events are held regularly for members who also received a well researched and produced newsletter.
Southeast Asian Ceramic Society
The Society was founded in 1969 to widen appreciation and acquire knowledge of the ceramic art of China and countries adjacent to China, especially those of Southeast Asia. Local members meet for regular discussion groups, to hear talks by both local and international experts, and to study and compare ceramics. In the past, the Society has produced excellent, scholarly books.
The Bangkok-based Siam Society Under Royal Patronage was established in 1904 with a mission to promote knowledge of the culture, history, arts and natural sciences of Thailand as well as those of neighbouring countries. The Society welcomes visitors of all nationalities, including non-members, to visit its facilities and join its activities. It holds regular lectures and other events and produces a superb scholarly journal, The Journal of the Siam Society, which is published twice a year.
A very active organisation base din the UK for those interested in Indonesia. It has a large and active membership base, and it stages regular cultural events & presentations for its members, usually in London.
The Society was founded in 1962 to maintain and foster the close and friendly relations that have existed between the UK and Thailand. Based in London, it is open to those with an interest in Thailand. It holds semi-regular activities such as dinners and lectures.
The Institute, which is based in London, holds one of the largest libraries and archival collections in the world, devoted to Armenian history and culture. It also promotes the understanding of Armenian history, language and culture with the provision of by masterclasses, interactive workshops, films, exhibitions and performances.
Asia House is a splendid non-profit organisation based in central London and which aims to promote business and cultural understanding and links with Asia. It has a very active program and is highly professionally run.
The Bagri Foundation, established in 1990 and based in London, provides support, usually in the form of grants, towards artistic and educational projects. It also establishes partnerships following a collaborative model. Partners range from large national and international organisations like the British Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to middle-size and smaller cultural and artistic organisations that share its ethos and mission, one of which is to weave traditional Asian culture with contemporary thinking.
The Foundation also curates its own programmes of film, visual arts, music, literature, courses and lectures, and affords artists and experts from across Asia and the diaspora, or those inspired by Asia, wider visibility on the global stage.
The Barakat Trust supports the study and preservation of Islamic heritage, architecture, archaeology, art and culture by funding students, academic research, publications, digitisation, conservation, conferences and other projects. It is an international non-political, non-religious, non-sectarian and independent charity based in London.
British Moroccan Society
A very active society based in London which promotes educational & cultural links between the UK and Morocco. The Society’s work also has a significant charitable aspect.
Gulan – Promoting Kurdish Culture
Gulan is based in the UK. It promotes Kurdish culture with Kurdish festivals which showcase Kurdish visual, performing and creative artists, including dance, film and poetry , and Kurdish food.
It has organised a series of events dedicated to exploring the diversity of faiths of Kurdistan. These celebrated the Yezidis, the Faylee Kurds, and the Al-e Haqq or “People of Truth”, also known as the Kaka’i or Yarsan. It has also sponsored events to celebrate the culture of the Jews of Kurdistan.
Additionally, Gulan’s website aims to promote the culture of the Kurdish people and in particular to document traditional Kurdish costume and jewellery. It provides information about the Kurds and Kurdistan and is developing an archive of images.
Islamic Manuscript Association
The Islamic Manuscript Association is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting Islamic manuscript collections and supporting those who work with them. The Foundation’s administrative offices moved from Cambridge, UK to Stuttgart, Germany in 2017. The Association also holds an occasional lecture series.
Levantine Heritage Foundation
The London-based Levantine Heritage Foundation promotes the research, preservation and education of the heritage, arts and culture of the communities of the Levant region encompassed by the former Ottoman Empire between the 17th and 20th centuries.
The peoples and communities who traded and settled in the area were diverse in origin and faiths, including Venetians, Genoese, Greeks, Turks, Persians, Armenians, Jews, French, Italians, British, many other Europeans and Americans. With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, many of the cosmopolitan communities of the Levant region scattered around the globe. The Levantine Heritage Foundation is piecing together these communities’ histories and legacies for future generations to study and build on.
Oriental Ceramic Society
A large and dynamic society that holds regular meetings in London, and organises field visits for its members.
Oriental Rug & Textile Society (ORTS)
Established in 1977, this busy society meets mostly in London and stages regular lectures from guest speakers.
Royal Asiatic Society
Founded in 1823, the RAS is one of the world’s oldest societies for those interested in Asia and its art and culture. It operates from its own premises in central London and holds regular lectures on its premises for its members and the general public. One joins by becoming an ‘elected fellow’ of the Society but membership often is not necessary to attend lectures.
A well funded, and very active organisation with excellent exhibition spaces and auditoria in the hear of Manhattan.
Asian Art Society of New England
This Boston-based society holds regular lectures and trips related to Asian art.
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
A foundation established from the estate of heiress Doris Duke in 1996. The foundation supports four national grant-making programs. It also supports three museums and centers on properties that were owned by Doris Duke in Hillsborough, New Jersey; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Newport, Rhode Island. The foundation is headquartered in New York. Of particular interest are the arts of Southeast Asia, a personal passion of Doris Duke.
Historians of Islamic Art Association
The Association is a private, non-profit, non-political organization whose purpose is to promote the study and teaching of the art, architecture and archaeology of Islamic cultures and to facilitate communication and cooperation among those engaged in scholarly and other professional activities related to these fields. It is headquartered in New York but has sought to broaden its activities and appeal to interested historians everywhere.
Society for Asian Art
Based in San Francisco, the Society was incorporated in 1958, and serves as an independent support organization for San Francisco’s splendid Asian Art Museum.
It offers a wide range of innovative, high-quality educational and cultural programs, along with social (and culinary) events. There is a popular Asian art lecture series, there are visits to private art dealers and collections, in-depth study groups, and special lectures by leading scholars.