50 Years of Watching the World

The world around us is changing more quickly than ever before. Those who want to understand it can’t just sit back and accept the certainties from yesterday. The outside-the-box thinkers at the GIGA German Institute of Global Studies are taking on this challenge.

Virtually no other institution in Hamburg is so closely tied to the city’s understanding of itself as the gateway to the world as the GIGA is. Founded in 1964 as the Deutsches Übersee-Institut (German Overseas Institute), the GIGA is now an international institute delivering world-class social science research.

For a long time GIGA researchers have been feeding the nodes in the network of the global community. This know-how isn’t just used by other researchers. When a situation escalates somewhere, the specialists at the GIGA are asked, “What’s really happening there?” The roughly 90 researchers – supported by 70 colleagues in the information centre and the administrative, IT, publications and public relations departments – keep close tabs. They explain the world’s complex economic, political and social interconnections and make them transparent for politicians, the media and others who are interested.

This requires comprehensive understanding – and reflection. One’s own knowledge must be questioned in order to stay curious and open. Only so can cutting-edge research take place, and this is what the GIGA does – every day. And it’s what it’s been doing for 50 years.

On 10 April 2014 the Free and Hanseatic City celebrated GIGA’s fiftieth anniversary at a Senate reception at Hamburg City Hall. Speakers included First Mayor Olaf Scholz, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and NDR Editor-in-Chief Andreas Cichowicz. Press Release and Photos

Greetings (in German):


Foto Steinmeier

Frank-Walter Steinmeier
German Foreign Minister

Asien, Afrika, Lateinamerika und Nahost – dies sind die Regionen, die im Zentrum der wissenschaftlichen Arbeit des Leibniz- Instituts für Globale und Regionale Studien (GIGA) stehen. Und diese Regionen gewinnen zugleich für die deutsche Außenpolitik immer stärker an Bedeutung. more


Foto Scholz

Olaf Scholz
First Mayor of Hamburg

Die Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg versteht sich als "Tor zur Welt". Hamburg ist eine Stadt der Ankunft und des Aufbruchs. Im übertragenen Sinne passt das Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien (GIGA) auch aus diesem Grund so gut in unsere Stadt. more


Congratulations to the GIGA (in German):


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Establishment: Founded in 1964 as the Deutsches Übersee-Institut (German Overseas Institute) and the umbrella organization for the Institute of Asian Affairs, the German Orient Institute, the Institute of Latin American Affairs, and the Institute of African Affairs.

Reform: The GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies emerged out of the restructuring of the German Overseas Institute in 2006.

New Research Agenda: Increased incorporation of issues with a global reach: political systems, violence and security, development and globalisation, and international relations.

Commemorative book (in German, PDF, 13 MB)

Press kit (in German, PDF)