The Asian Social Institute (ASI) was founded in June 1962 by Dr. Rev. Francis Senden, cicm, a Dutch missionary priest— a philosopher, sociologist, and theologian. He arrived in the Philippines in 1956 and became a professor of Social Philosophy, Christian Social Teachings, Sociology, and Economics at San Carlos Seminary in Guadalupe, Makati City up to 1962.
In that year, he founded ASI as a graduate school of the social sciences, and became its first director until his death in 1973. He wanted to create a learning environment for graduate students to understand comprehensively socio-cultural realities, reflect on these realities in the light of Christian social teachings, and act on them in a way that they will be able to facilitate change while they themselves grow in the process.
A social analyst concerned with educating people toward social justice, Fr. Senden made religious, priests, and lay people aware of the unbalanced social structures in the country and other parts of Asia. A lover of the poor whose kinship with Francis of Assisi earned for him the title Francis of ASI, he inspired countless persons and social entities to launch social initiatives such as streetchildren work, agricultural cooperatives, and marketing arms to export handicraft from the rural areas.
A social educator, Fr. Senden did not only require graduate students to take up masteral studies requiring 105 units, but also exposed them through field research to the remote areas of the Philippines in view of their future role in directing institutional development toward supporting community building and sectoral movements among the marginalized. Indeed, many social leaders now have been inspired in their social involvement by the late Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Senden.