As the name suggests, the Centre seeks to increase understanding and appreciation of the Asian region among Icelandic academics, students and general public. Since its establishment, it has played a central role in expanding contacts with Asian or Asia-related institutes of research and higher education at the University of Iceland. It administers the university's contact and collaboration with the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) and membership of the Nordic NIAS Council (NNC).
The Chinese studies programme at the University of Iceland was designed and constructed by ASIS, and it also oversaw the establishment of the Northern Light Confucius Institute. The university's memberships of the Nordic Centre at Fudan University in Shanghai and the Nordic Centre in India are both administered by ASIS.
A number of events, conferences, symposia, lectures, etc., have been and are expected to be held by ASIS.