Our Year 2015

New research results on global issues, three new event series, and some top marks – through these and other highlights, the GIGA put its stamp on worlds of scholarship and policy.

Collage of GIGA events in 2015.
Collage of GIGA events in 2015.

New findings on questions of global importance

In 2015 GIGA researchers presented their findings – whether on the range and limitations of international sanctions policy, the role of civil society organisations in autocracies, or the perspectives of emerging powers on issues of climate and trade – in top scholarly journals and at renowned international conferences and workshops. In February, the comparative politics section of the Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft (DVPW) gathered at the GIGA to discuss the rise of Africa, the euro crisis, and the Arab Spring. In April, at the concluding conference of the GIGA’s Institutions for Sustainable Peace network, scholars and practitioners addressed the role that institutions play in conflict-affected and post-conflict societies.

The GIGA Focus series tackled such topics as the industrialisation of less developed regions, Islamism, China’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” the changes India has gone through under Prime Minister Modi, and international aid in the context of climate change adaptation. In April, the GIGA journal Africa Spectrum celebrated its landmark fiftieth anniversary; the Spectrum is also proud to have been named one of the top ten area studies journals worldwide for 2015 in the Journal Citation Report by Thomson Reuters.

Lectures, discussions, and policy advice

In 2015 we made our research results accessible to a wider public through our over 50 events; the GIGA Forum, for instance, allowed us to put current developments in the spotlight of debate. When the Hanseatic City of Hamburg invited the GIGA to participate in the Nacht des Wissens (“Night of Knowledge”) on 7 November, we opened our doors to the Hamburg public: more than 400 visitors made their way to Neuer Jungfernstieg to discuss the challenges of global power shifts with our scholars.

Our dialogue with our two donors – the Federal Foreign Office and the Hamburg Ministry of Science and Research – expanded and deepened, with frequent formal and informal exchanges in Hamburg and Berlin. The First Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, hosted a reception at the Hamburg City Hall to welcome Prof. Amrita Narlikar into her new role as the President of the GIGA, and she delivered her inaugural lecture. In Berlin, lectures and discussions delved into, among other topics, the crisis in Syria, the situation in Haiti, and the Arab Spring. In the run-up to Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s trip to Cuba, Prof. Bert Hoffmann, head of the GIGA Berlin Office, organised a workshop in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office to present and discuss the political, economic, and social developments on the island and resulting policy options. Prof. Narlikar, at the invitation of the Hamburg Senate, gave a keynote lecture to the European Affairs Ministers from the German federal states on the Impact of TTIP on Third Parties.

Fresh formats

The GIGA launched three further high-profile series in 2015: a Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series, GIGA-NDR cooperation, and the GIGA Global Transitions Conference Series. In June, renowned trade expert Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati kicked off the GIGA Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series at Hamburg’s city hall, weighing in on how mega-regional trade agreements influence the world. In late November, seats were hard to come by at the inaugural event of the “Grenzgänger – Auslandskorrespondenten treffen Wissenschaftler” (“Border Crossers – Foreign Correspondents Connecting with Scholars”) series, a joint initiative of the GIGA and NDR. At the GIGA Global Transitions Conference, whose first gathering took place in early December, top international scholars, influential decision-makers, and senior representatives from the media came together with GIGA researchers to discuss the varied world views of present and emerging powers. All of these event series will be continued in 2016.

Research platforms in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East

In order to foster scholarly exchange, the GIGA launched research platforms in Beirut, Delhi, Beijing, Rio, Tokyo, and Tunis in 2015; further sites, including Cape Town and Pretoria, are being planned. These platforms serve to help GIGA scholars create stronger linkages with their colleagues around the world, facilitate joint workshops and conferences, and enable researchers to more easily share their findings with one another. In this framework, scholars from the GIGA met with colleagues from the Lebanese American University in November 2015 in Lebanon to analyse the military conflict in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Regular, reciprocal research visits comprise a core element of the platforms.

Accolades from the Leibniz Association In July 2015 we received a gratifying piece of news: following a comprehensive evaluation, the Leibniz Association issued the GIGA very high marks for its research and consultation activities. The institute was lauded for the amount of third-party funding it was able to raise, researchers’ publishing successes in recent years, the Open Access journals of the GIGA Journal Family, and its promotion of junior scholars in the context of the Doctoral Programme. Thanks to additional funds raised in 2015 we were able to expand our research on topics such as authoritarianism, peace and conflict, and the rise of new powers.

GIGA expertise in the media

GIGA scholars’ insights were highly sought after by the German media in 2015 and also in international magazines and policy-oriented journals. For outlets ranging from the Tagesschau to Spiegel OnlineForeign Affairs Online, and Current History, to Deutsche Welle and NDR Info, our researchers provided expert analyses on, among other topics, the “Islamic State,” the refugee crisis, international trade, power and powerlessness, and upheavals in Guatemala, Iran, Venezuela, and Myanmar.

Thank you

We look back on a successful year that was made possible only through the extraordinary dedication of both our academic and non-academic staff. We would also like to thank our granting authorities and our specialised committees. Beyond thatwe would like to thank you – for your interest in our work, for attending our events, and for all the constructive criticism and encouragement you have provided. So what does the GIGA have in store for 2016? You will be able to read all about it soon, right here.


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