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Learning Grit from Cuban Refugee Turned Princeton Professor Miguel Centeno

Learning Grit from Cuban Refugee Turned Princeton Professor Miguel Centeno

Miguel Angel Centeno was born in Cuba and by a miraculous set of adventures escaped to
Spain and then landed up in the United States. He was raised by a single mom and spent most of his teenage years in housing projects. With grit, relentless efforts and determination to escape poverty, Miguel graduated from Yale with scholarship. Among other degrees, he also got an MBA and worked in advertising for a while. He soon realized that the business world was not for him. He was far more inspired by deeper issues and abstract ideas. Today he is Vice Dean; Musgrave Professor of Sociology; Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Princeton University

In this riveting podcast you will
1. Explore the nuances of privilege
2. Understand the principles of building a meaningful career in social sciences
3. Learn what Marx and Adam Smith might say if they took a walk in the 21st century

This is Dr. Centeno in his own words

Born in Cuba. Came to the US at 10 and lived in Erie PA with a single mom. Got financial aid to Yale and then worked in business for several years as my mom became quite sick…… not sure what more!!

Academic Bio:

Miguel Centeno has published many articles, chapters, and books. His latest publications are War and Society (Polity 2016), Global Capitalism (Polity 2010), States in the Developing World (Cambridge UP, 2017) and State and Nation Making in the Iberian World (Cambridge UP , Vol 1, 2013; Vol. II 2018). He is the founder of the Research Community on Global Systemic Risk funded by PIIRS from 2013 ( He is also working on book on the sociology of discipline. In 2000, he founded the Princeton University Preparatory Program, which provides intensive supplemental training for lower income students in local high schools. ( He currently serves as Vice-Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School. From 2003 to 2007, he served as the founding Director of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. From 1997-2004 he also served as Head of Wilson College at Princeton. From 2012 to 2017 he served as Chair of the Sociology Department.

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