Professor Saskia Sassen Wins Prince of Asturias Award for Social Science

Saskia Sassen, the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, has won the 2013 Prince of Asturias Award for social science for her contribution to urban sociology and to the analysis of the social, economic and political dimensions of globalization, according to the prize jury.

by Columbia News Staff
May 16, 2013

Sassen’s main fields of study are immigration and the role of major cities in the management of the international economy. One of her greatest contributions is her concept of the “global city” and its social, economic and political dimensions.

“It is a great honor to receive the Prince of Asturias Award and be a part of the community of those who have received this accolade,” said Sasken, co-chair of Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought. “Now it is my turn to honor the great institution that grants it.”

The Prince of Asturias Awards are named for Felipe, the Prince of Asturias, who is heir to the Spanish throne and the foundation’s honorary president. They were created in 1981 and are given in eight categories—including the humanities, technical and scientific research, sports and international cooperation—to those “who contribute to the encouragement and promotion of scientific, cultural and human values,” according to the foundation.

Sassen herself is nearly as global as her area of expertise. Born in the Netherlands, she grew up in Argentina and Italy, studied in France and the United States, and speaks six languages. She received her Ph.D. from Notre Dame University and is also a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. She taught at Columbia in the 1990s and returned in 2007, after teaching at the University of Chicago.

The Prince of Asturias awards come with a cash prize of 50,000 euros, worth about $64,000. They will be presented in the fall at an annual ceremony in Oviedo, Spain.