The Asian Social Institute (ASI) was established in 1962 by Rev. Dr. Francis Senden, cicm. Why was ASI founded?
Ever since his arrival in the Philippines, at that time known to be the only Christian country in the Far East, he was struck by the widening gap between the rich and the poor. When the late Rufino Cardinal Santos, D.D., Archbishop of Manila, invited Fr. Senden to start an Asian Social Institute, he was hesitant realizing that already there were prestigious educational institutions offering master’s degrees in the social sciences. Yet, he could not deny that the Philippines was still longing for the Christian leaders who would commit themselves to address the great divide between the rich and the materially poor. He nevertheless decided to start a new social science graduate school.
The new graduate school had to be a graduate school with a difference. ASI would therefore be a school of high academic standing but with the poor people of the Philippines as frame of reference. Moreover since he was convinced that change in society could only be possible if there would be found leaders on all strata of society actively concerned about justice and life chances. Indeed, the divide would never be bridged unless also the people of modest means and the poor would take an active part in the process. For this reason, ASI should guarantee a staff of excellent professors while also seeing to it that talented students of modest means and from among the poor will be formed.
Ensuring its social and cultural rootedness, ASI provides a learning environment which is structured in three interacting departments – the Academe-Research, the Social Development, and the Administrative Services. ASI’s thrust is to contribute to an experientially and culturally based theory of social transformation. It gives importance to the persons-in-community and their essential relationships. It creates a social climate which enables persons to achieve their full human potentials towards community wealth and well-being within a new ecological development paradigm and movement called “Co-Creating Sustainable Bio-Regional Communities (CSBCom).”
This is facilitated through a meaningful integration of the three departments, each one sharing in the task of forming students according to the Institute’s social and educational ideals from the perspective of Christian Social Teachings. The Social Development Department grounds the ASI community – administrators, faculty, students and non-teaching staff in the realities of life of ASI’s marginalized partners. This allows for learning where life contexts serve as learning environments. The Academe-Research Department theorizes from lived experiences in communities to contribute to the established fund of knowledge, skills and change processes contained in the existing literature. The Research dimension is integral to education, organization, action and advocacy. All programs are supported and facilitated by the Administrative Services Department.
As ASI moves in the Third Millennium, it continually strives to be a graduate school of excellence with a difference as cited. ASI is there to serve especially Asia and the Pacific. Currently, its graduate courses in Economics, Sociology, and Social Work and its Bachelor of Science in Social Work enjoy Level III accreditation status effective August 31, 2007 and valid until April 2012. (The Master of Science in Sociology has two branches of specialization, namely: Pastoral Sociology and Pastoral Studies). On June 14, 1977, a government recognition (No. V-0052 s.1977) has been granted to ASI to offer a special course for community development workers now known as International Diploma Course in Community Development (IDCCD).
As a response to the challenges and demands of the Millennium, ASI continued to create additional programs. Thus, in 1995, it started to offer the Doctoral Program in Applied Cosmic Anthropology (PhD ACA) with permanent recognition from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on March 6, 1995 (No. C-01 Series 1995). Two new masteral programs have been introduced:
The Institute has also acquired accreditation from other authorized agencies: