Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA) was established in Hong Kong in 1983. ARENA is a regional network of concerned Asian scholars – academics, intellectuals, activists, researchers, writers, and artists – which aims to contribute to a process of awakening towards meaningful and people-oriented social change. ARENA is a unique network because it has chosen to focus on the concerned Asian scholars as its immediate constituency, believing that this sector can play a vital role in the process of social transformation. ARENA redefines concerned Asian scholars to refer to individuals capable of conceptualizing, theorizing, analyzing, interpreting and articulating issues and concerns as direct participants of or in support of struggles for social transformation in the interests of disadvantaged peoples. ARENA draws its members from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China, Australia, United States, among others.

ARENA advocates alternative paradigms and development strategies:

  • to promote equity among social class, caste, ethnic groups and gender
  • to strengthen popular participation in public life against authoritarian centralization
  • to prevent marginalization of communities in the face of incursions by modernization and neo liberalism
  • to improve the quality of life for the underprivileged
  • to nurture ecological consciousness
  • to draw upon aspects of indigenous knowledge systems which enhance social emancipation
  • to articulate new visions encompassing a holistic world view