John G. Ruggie, Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs, will receive the  A.SK Social Science Award 2017, a prestigious international prize in the social sciences given every two years by the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.

Ruggie is a leading theorist in the field of international relations. His work on the social construction of globalization has also had a practical policy impact. As United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Strategic Planning (from 1997-2001), he was responsible for creating the U.N. Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative. As U.N. Special Representative for Business and Human Rights (from 2005-2011), he developed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

More than 13,000 companies and organizations from civil society, politics and science currently participate in the U.N. Global Compact. The Guiding Principles, endorsed unanimously by the U.N. Human Rights Council, serve as the authoritative blueprint for states and companies to ensure socially responsible business conduct. Ruggie's approach means that human rights must be embedded in everyday business decisions.

“Naturally I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious award," Ruggie said. "But even more important is the message it sends: there can be no sustainable society without a viable business sector, but equally there can be no sustainable business sector that fails to respect and support the social fabric in which it operates.”

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has added a human rights chapter to its Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the European Union has revised its social responsibility rules based on the so-called Ruggie Rules. Many states, including Germany, are developing national action plans on business and human rights. The Guiding Principles have been endorsed by the International Bar Association, and incorporated into the statutes and policies of FIFA, the global governing body of professional football.

The international jury of the A.SK Award highlights John Ruggie's achievements in theory and practice. He will accept the award at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center on Oct. 14.

The A.SK Award is worth 100,000 euros, which was donated by the Chinese entrepreneur couple Angela and Shu Kai Chan. Since 2007, it has been awarded every two years by the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. It honors researchers from the social sciences who have made an important contribution to political and economic reforms.