Thematic Editions of the GIGA Focus Series

The various thematic editions of the GIGA Focus series discuss the specific global and regional expressions of an overarching issue. While they do not adopt a strictly comparative approach, they do show how certain phenomena change and travel across the world and within different historic and cultural contexts. They also reflect the GIGA’s approach of taking into account the philosophical traditions and historical experiences of all world regions.


  • The War in Ukraine and the Global South

    The Russian attack on Ukraine has met with strong international condemnation. But the outrage over the invasion, the sanctioning of Russia, and offering material and moral support to Ukraine are not universal trends. In particular, countries with close economic and military ties to Russia, such as China, India, and South Africa, abstained on the United Nations resolution; Brazil and Saudi Arabia declared themselves “neutral” meanwhile. Many countries also fear that international supply chains will once again be disrupted by the war and sanctions, and therewith the consequences for global food and energy security. This GIGA Focus series analyses the effects of and reactions to the war, as well as how it is perceived, in the societies of the Global South.

    GIGA Focus Middle East | 2/2022

    The Russian War against Ukraine: Middle East Food Security at Risk

    In the Middle East and North Africa, dependence on Ukraine and Russia for imports of wheat is among the highest globally at 50 per cent. As the war on Ukraine is disrupting the global food trade, it is also having deleterious effects on food security across much of the Arab world.

    Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies

    GIGA Focus Africa | 3/2022

    The Bigger Picture: Mali, Jihadism, and the Withdrawal of the West

    By the end of May 2022, the mandate for the German military mission in Mali will expire. The decision on an extension should be made against the backdrop of two trends in Africa: the spread of jihadist violence and the growing influence of non-Western external powers.

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

    Director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs / Editor GIGA Focus Africa


    The Biden Presidency: Challenges and Opportunities for International Cooperation

    The inauguration of President Joe Biden on 20 January 2021 is the source of much hope around the world that the United States government will now return to international cooperation rather than continue putting “America First.” On his very first day in office, the new president already rejoined both the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization. The GIGA Focus Thematic Editions 2021 will examine the key consequences of the change of administration in the United States for multilateralism and specific challenges in the Global South.

    GIGA Focus Asia | 6/2021

    Managing the Status Quo: Continuity and Change in the United States’ Taiwan Policy

    Many Taiwanese were concerned that US-Taiwan relations would worsen under President Biden. Contrary to these worries, in the first ten months in office, the Biden administration has repeatedly signalled the US’ continuing support. This GIGA Focus analyses the continuity and change in US Taiwan policy.

    Dr. David Kuehn

    Senior Research Fellow / Coordinator GIGA Forum

    GIGA Focus Global | 5/2021

    Joe Biden and a New Era of Multilateralism

    With the inauguration of Joe Biden, the USA once again extends hands to traditional partners and embraces the concept of strategic competition with Russia and China. The new president is thus ushering in a new era of multilateralism, states GIGA researcher Hannes Greve in GIGA Focus Global.

    Hannes Greve

    Doctoral Researcher


    Military and Militarisation

    The military and militarisation are making their way back into politics. The alliances being formed with civilian elites are different to before. In some cases, military officers past or present are assuming office in high government as well as threatening or suppressing the opposition and civil society. In times of social, political, and/or economic crisis, the military serves primarily to uphold the power of ruling elites. In other contexts, national elites are driving the militarisation of foreign policy. This thematic GIGA Focus series analyses the role of the military and the processes of militarisation in different regions of the world.

    GIGA Focus Middle East | 7/2020

    Egypt after the Arab Spring: A Legacy of No Advancement

    With the tenth anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising approaching, it has become clear that civil–military relations, infrastructure development, and population growth remain three interrelated challenges for Egypt that have persisted throughout the last decade. An Analysis.

    Hager Ali

    Doctoral Researcher

    GIGA Focus Global | 6/2020

    Material and Discursive Militarisation in Democracies

    Dr. David Kuehn

    Senior Research Fellow / Coordinator GIGA Forum

    Prof. Dr. Yagil Levy

    GIGA Focus Middle East | 6/2020

    The New Turkey and its Nascent Security Regime

    Dr. Hakkı Taş

    Research Fellow


    Shrinking Civic Spaces around the World

    Civil society has been facing increasing pressure around the world in recent years. The spaces for citizens and NGOs to assemble and campaign for rights and their interests have been shrinking globally, not only affecting actors in authoritarian regimes but also facilitating the emergence of authoritarian practices in formally democratic contexts. Against this background, the decisive question is “What shapes and maintains the global increase of civil society restrictions?” In this thematic GIGA Focus series authors employing different perspectives explore the dynamics of shrinking civic space and shed light on this worrying trend. At the GIGA, research on this phenomenon and related topics is carried out within Research Programme 1 “Accountability and Participation” and within the International Diffusion and Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes - IDCAR-Network.

    GIGA Focus Global | 8/2021

    Sustaining Civic Space in Times of COVID-19: Global Trends

    Autocracies worldwide have exploited COVID-19 to curtail civil liberties. However, the health crisis and related socio-economic setbacks have also created needs-induced space, leading to a rise of civil society relief activism and protests. Read more in this GIGA Focus Global.

    GIGA Focus Middle East | 6/2018

    Shrinking Spaces of Humanitarian ­Protection

    More than six million people live as internally displaced persons in Syria, and over five million have fled abroad - most to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. In recent years, humanitarian protection for refugees in the main host countries of the Middle East seem to be shrinking.

    GIGA Focus Asia | 6/2018

    Civil Society Work in China: Trade-Offs and Opportunities for European NGOs

    Bertram Lang

    Formerly Associate

    Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig

    Senior Research Fellow / Editor GIGA Focus Asia


    Germany and the Multilateral Order

    Since January 2019, Germany has been a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. This raises the question, on the one hand, of what challenges German foreign policy will face until the end of Germany’s membership in December 2020. On the other, it can be asked what opportunities multilateral actors have – if any – to influence conflicts around the world. Against this backdrop, this GIGA Focus series analyses various conflict situations in different world regions.

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 7/2019

    Latin America – Multilateralism without Multilateral Values

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

    Lead Research Fellow / General Editor GIGA Focus Editor GIGA Focus Global


    The G20 amidst Globalisation

    The G20 countries represent approximately two-thirds of the world’s population, over 80 per cent of the world’s economic activity, and three-quarters of global trade. Against the backdrop of Germany’s G20 presidency in 2017, this thematic GIGA Focus series provides research-based analyses of the G20 as an institution, of its potential, and of central issues on the G20 agenda as seen from a regional perspective.

    GIGA Focus Global | 6/2017

    The G20 under Argentina's Presidency: Time to Deliver on the Hamburg Promises

    On 1 December 2017, Argentina took over the presidency of the G20 from the German government. This is the right time to briefly review the year of the G20 under a German presidency in troubled times. It is also a prudent time to look ahead and provide a preliminary assessment of the priorities set by Argentina.

    Prof. Dr. Jann Lay

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Globalisation and Development"

    GIGA Focus Middle East | 3/2017

    Structural Reform in the Arab Gulf States – Limited Influence of the G20

    Dr. Thomas Richter

    Senior Research Fellow / Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 3/2017

    Latin America’s Fight against Corruption: The End of Impunity

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

    Lead Research Fellow / General Editor GIGA Focus Editor GIGA Focus Global


    Flight and Migration

    Across the world, 65 million people are currently leaving their homes and crossing borders to seek asylum and protection. The number of people “on the move” internally is much higher, as migration has many causes and motivations. This thematic edition of the GIGA Focus series sheds light on the multiple aspects and experiences of flight and migration.


    A Pluralist Approach to Social Sciences

    Most approaches to solving real-world problems are based on the experiences of the industrialised Western world. Other experiences – if taken into account at all – are measured against this ideal type. This thematic edition of the GIGA Focus demonstrates the added value of including the ideas as well as the experiences of the Global South, with a specific focus on democracy and democratisation.

    GIGA Focus Middle East | 4/2016

    The Arab Spring: Misconceptions and Prospects

    Dr. Stephan Rosiny

    Formerly Research Fellow

    Dr. Thomas Richter

    Senior Research Fellow / Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

    GIGA Focus Africa | 4/2016

    External Intervention to Strengthen Democracy in Africa

    Dr. Christian von Soest

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Peace and Security"

    Fabian Bohnenberger

    Formerly Associate

    GIGA Focus Asia | 2/2016

    "He who says C must say D" — China’s Attempt to Become the "World’s Largest Democracy"

    Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig

    Senior Research Fellow / Editor GIGA Focus Asia

    Günter Schucher

    Formerly Senior Research Fellow

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