Dr. Mina Ramirez was taking her education degree under the tutelage of the Belgian nuns in Santa Theresa during the decade when the Catholic Church was seeking to be a more aggressive force in the reinforcing, and reinvigorating of Christian values in the building of the post World War II Christian civilization and healing of the horrors of the Hitler Wars and two ideologies struggled for the domination of society’s soul.
And so right after her graduation, armed now with her bachelor’s degree in education, summa cum laude, she joined the movement led by the Belgian priests to mobilize the youth in fighting for the allegiance of the laboring class: the Young Christian Workers. She worked four years as a national organizer with Fr. Martens of CICM. The movement grew to become a national organization and Mina Ramirez was elected President of the National Organization of Young Christian Workers serving from 1959 to 1961.
About that time another priest of the CICM Congregation, Fr. Francis Senden, was commissioned by the Archbishop of Metro Manila to establish an institute to train social workers for the social movement in Asia.
ASI opened for enrollment in June 1962. The year following ASI established its Research Department for Sociology and Economics.
Mina Ramirez joined the first batch of postgraduate students. She earned her Master of Science degree in Sociology in 1965 and joined the faculty of ASI first as professor, then as Dean of the Department of Sociology. Both in Academic studies and in hands-on applied research ASI’s graduate degree program was more intense and rigorous more demanding of the student’s total commitment than in the more conventional universities in the country. It was after all educating social transformation agents – revolutionaries you might say – which are far more demanding than conventional professional practitioners.
And this was the rigorous preparation and continuing work which engaged Mina Ramirez as student, then as professor. She became Francis Senden’s star disciple, the model of the total, multidisciplinary scholar-practitioner; social-activist that he believed would be needed in a critical mass to transform the country’s unjust social, economic and political structures.
Eighteen years after his landing in the Philippines, Fr. Francis Senden went to his eternal reward on August 22nd, 1973. His closest associate and most dedicated disciple Mina Ramirez, then Dean of the Department of Sociology of ASI, was named acting Director of the Institute. And the following year, in 1974 she was elected President, a position which she has held now for 37 years.
In those 37 years President Mina Ramirez paid her mentor the supreme compliment of not merely maintaining his vision and continuing his work but pushing the vision way beyond its original scope and brilliance and his work on to firmer and enduring foundations so that ASI will celebrate its Golden Anniversary as a nationally and internationally recognized institution in all its aspects as graduate school, research institute and social action center, an innovative and effective force for social, economic, and political transformation in the Philippines and other developing countries of Asia.
Her passion has always been total human development and she has devoted her life to research, teaching, writing, advocating, and actively promoting, propagating, organizing all over the Philippines. In 1981, she added to her arsenal of intellectual disciplines the science of Organization Development earning her Doctorate in OD from the Southeast Asian Interdisciplinary Development Institute (SAIDI).
The height to which ASI’S evolution has risen is seen by merely considering two of its current programs. ASI’s flagship graduate course embodies the new grander vision of Dr. Mina Ramirez the Doctoral Program in Applied Cosmic Anthropology integrating all the new disciplines relevant to the further reaches of human evolution and development, the intellectual tool of the millennium’s spiritual revolutionary. And the down-to earth integration of ASI’s social, economic and political transformation objectives are demonstrated in the design of its community organizing program that it has labeled: CSBCOM, for Co-creating Sustainable Bioregional Communities.
From his vantage point above, Francis of ASI must be smiling as he views what his disciple has accomplished, Dr. Mina Ramirez, THE PRESIDENT OF THE ASIAN SOCIAL INSTITUTE AND FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES OF THE VATICAN.
This brief write-up is an excerpt from the introduction delivered by Prof. Sixto Roxas during a lecture-forum on the Youth and the Philippine Reality in which Dr. Mina Ramirez was the main speaker. The lecture centered on the theme, “The Vanishing Youth and the Philippine Reality: Some Insights into the Meaning and Significance of Youth Participation towards Social Transformation,” held on February 5, 2011 at the Bayview Park Hotel, Manila.