Spotlight on... | 28/02/2023

"Spotlight on…" Representatives of Doctoral Researchers Indi, Ardahan, Houssein

Our Doctoral Researchers recently held their General Assembly and elected new Representatives. Get to know Indi, Ardahan and Houssein.


  • In the General Assembly of the Doctoral Researchers last December, Indi-Carolina Kryg, Ardahan Özkan Gedikli, and Houssein Al Malla were elected to be the new Representatives of the Doctoral Researchers from 2023 onwards. In this interview they introduce themselves, their motivation to run for office, and issues important to them.

    • Indi is part of the GIGA Team since 2013. She joined the GIGA Doctoral Programme in October 2020 and is a Doctoral Researcher at the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies. For her PhD, she is researching Latin American refugees’ and immigrants’ political agency in Mexico and belongs with this topic to the Research Programme on Accountability and Participation

    • Ardahan is part of the GIGA Team and the Doctoral Programme since April 2021. His dissertation examines the political economy of Turkey’s foreign aid with a regional perspective on the Middle East and North Africa. He aims to provide a neo-Gramscian IR reading of Turkey’s rising foreign aid trajectory in the past decade.

    • Houssein first joined the GIGA in 2021, as a student research assistant as part of a research project on Sanctions. In October 2022, he joined the GIGA Doctoral Programme, where he does research at the intersection of International Relations and Political Psychology. His dissertation seeks to investigate to what extent does the personalities of sanctioned leaders affect the outcomes of imposed sanctions.

    What made you decide to run as a representative of the Doctoral Researchers?

    Ardahan: Doing PhD can be quite challenging and exhausting. As a social person who likes to engage in exchange of ideas to make the PhD life easier, I am quite keen to support other PhDs and contribute to a healthier PhD journey of my colleagues.

    Indi: Like Ardahan, it is also important to me to make our PhD journey healthier. In addition, I consider it essential that we as doctoral researchers continue networking with other status groups at the GIGA in order to jointly develop the GIGA further, for example in the fields of diversity and sustainability.

    Houssein: I could not agree more with both Ardahan and Indi! I believe sharing experiences and learning from each other is absolutely vital for the journey we are all on. That is why I wanted to run as a representative: to get the opportunity to foster healthy communications amongst members of the Doctoral Programme, and build a united front in the face of whatever challenges the journey may have for us.

    How would you describe your main tasks and responsibilities as representatives of the Doctoral Researchers?

    Indi: We see our primary role as representing the doctoral researchers inside and outside of the GIGA. For example, this is important because we do not have a representative on the Works Council, but we are, of course, part of the GIGA team. Accordingly, this includes communicating the concerns and needs of the doctoral researchers to the various committees like the Works Council.

    Houssein: Furthermore, one of our primary goals is also to ameliorate practical obstacles to the smooth functioning of the PhD programme. This could be related, but is not limited to supervision, mental health, work environment, etc.

    What are central topics you would like to address, and what do you hope to achieve during your term as representatives?

    Ardahan: We will continue the great work of our successors and focus on three main topics this term: Promoting the exchange between doctoral researchers, seeking out and streamlining funding opportunities for doctoral researchers in the last stages of their dissertation research, in addition to providing support and activities directed towards improving and remedying the mental health of doctoral researchers.

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    GIGA Doctoral Programme

    The GIGA has a long tradition of integrating young researchers into its research structure. This tradition culminated in the establishment of the GIGA Doctoral Programme. This programme seeks to provide a platform for young, international, and German academics, from which they can pursue their research and professional development, particularly in the field of comparative area studies (CAS).

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