GIGA Institute for Asian Studies

GIGA Institute for Asian Studies

The GIGA Institute for Asian Studies analyses current developments in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia. Research topics include civil society-state relations, party politics, economic development, China and India in regional and global affairs, and the Indo-Pacific as a strategic space.

  • The GIGA Institute for Asian Studies is exceptional in terms of its geographical scope. It analyses political, social, and economic developments as well as phenomena in and across four Asian world regions: Northeast Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australasia. It operates at the interstices of Asian Studies and the Social Sciences, with a mix of qualitative, quantitative, and interpretative methods called upon. It builds intellectual bridges and fosters methodological pluralism.

    GIGA’s Asia Institute is well connected locally, nationally, at the European level, and globally – also by means of the GIGA Research Platform Asia which it has operated since 2015. It regularly and prominently contributes to large flagship Hamburg events such as the biannual “India Week” and the “Hamburg Summit: China meets Europe.” The regional institute strongly supports Asian Studies and disciplinary communities. It hosts the Secretariat of the German Association for Asian Studies, has staff who are Board Members of the latter, and was chosen as host and lead institution for the Association’s 50th anniversary conference in 2017. Its Director serves as Chairman of the Board of the Hamburg Foundation Asia Bridge. The Institute is one of the founding members of the European Alliance for Asian Studies. Since 2017 the GIGA has granted several “GIGA India Fellowships” to India specialists to spend time as Visiting Fellows at the GIGA Institute for Asian Studies. Some former Visiting Fellows are now Associates of the institute. Together with its French partner, the Institute for International Studies (CERI) at the SciencesPo Paris, in 2021 the GIGA launched the Franco-German Observatory of the Indo-Pacific, which organises a webinar series, joint conferences, and other exchanges.

    The GIGA Institute for Asian Studies edits, as part of the GIGA Journal Family published by SAGE Publishing, two well-established Open Access journals: the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs (since 2017 in cooperation with King’s College London) and the Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs (with editors based in Germany and France).


    Lisa Woike


    Panel discussion | 12/06/2024 - 13/06/2024

    The World in Disarray: Challenged Beyond Capacity

    VII. Walther Leisler Kiep Symposium, Deutsche Bank - Unter den Linden, Berlin Prof. Dr. Miriam Prys-Hansen (Panelist)

    Miriam Prys-Hansen took part in this very distinguished panel discussion. Fellow panelists were Dr. Christoph Heusgen (Ambassador, Munich Security Conference), Imants Liegis (Ministry of Defence Latvia), Dr. Norbert Röttgen, MdB and Dr. Nils Schmid, MdB.

    GIGA Focus Global | 2/2024

    Why Just Energy Transition Partnerships Are Not Enough

    JETPs are envisioned as catalysts for socially just energy transitions in fossil fuel-dependent countries. Yet, shortcomings of the mechanism, political-economic structures, and the initial implementation plans of South Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam leave major doubts this goal will be reached.

    GIGA Journal Family

    The GIGA Journal Family is published by SAGE Publishing, maintaining the "platinum standard" of the open access model. Excellent contributions by researchers from all over the world are featured in the four journals. To ensure the journals' quality, all essays are evaluated in a double-blind peer-review process.

    GIGA Journal Family

    Research Project | 01/02/2024 - 31/12/2025

    Digital Transformation Lab (DigiTraL), Phase II: Digitalisation as Chance for Cooperation with Global Partners

    GIGA‘s Digital Transformation Lab (DigiTraL), funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, analyses the political drivers and real-world consequences of the digital transformation taking place around the world. The Global South in particular is an important actor in and shaper of this transformation.
    FFO, 2024-2025

    Research Project | 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2025

    Climate Obstruction and Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective

    The fight against climate change continues to be hindered by campaigns of corporate and other actors who seek to prevent global and/or national action on climate change. This research group is set up to a joint and comparative research agenda on climate obstruction in and across key Global South countries. The lead institutions are the GIGA and the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).
    DAAD/CAPES, 2024-2026

    Research Project | 01/06/2023 - 31/05/2026

    HNC³ - Hamburg Network on Compliance in Cooperation with China

    This project bundles the China expertise of universities and non-university research institutes in the Hamburg metropolitan area. Against the background of current opportunities and challenges in cooperating with China, primary goals of the project include the development of instruments for such cooperation in accordance with legal parameters, the establishment of appropriate exchange formats among the consortium members, and the implementation of relevant training programmes.
    BMBF, 2023-2026

    Research Project | 01/02/2023 - 31/01/2025

    Mapping and Strengthening Civil Society Response to Disinformation

    Governments in autocratic and autocratizing contexts may use anti-fake news laws to discredit critical civil society actors as agents of “disinformation” and punish them. Through comparative and cross-learning insights derived from field studies, we seek to map civil society responses against the autocratic use of disinformation laws and strengthen policies for right to information and freedom of speech and expression.
    NED, 2023-2025

    Research Project | 01/01/2023 - 31/12/2024

    Strengthening Civil Society Against the Weaponization of Anti-Fake News Laws: A Comparison of Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Thailand

    In an age of proliferating disinformation, governments in South and Southeast Asia have come out with anti-fake news laws. However, the “weaponization" of such laws can lead governments to control online platforms and censor critics. Our project examines the patterns and processes of the weaponization of such laws against civic actors and countermeasures by the latter. We aim for academic and policy outcomes to improve disinformation regulation while safeguarding digital rights.
    Luminate, 2023-2024

    Research Project | 01/07/2022 - 30/06/2025

    Transfer for Transformation – Knowledge Exchange with Global Reach (T4T)

    Transfer for Transformation (T4T) is an application lab. T4T will innovate in the practice of knowledge transfer through consequent target-group-integration and novel access strategies. It will also advance the scholarship on the subject by analysing the effectiveness and impact of different types of knowledge transfer.
    Leibniz Association, 2022-2025

    Research Project | 15/01/2022 - 14/12/2024

    COVID-19 and Executive Personalization in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the MENA Region

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, political leaders reacted by containment measures that, next to combating the spread of the pandemic, also presented a window of opportunity to bolster executives’ personal grasp on power. Personalization of power has been particularly worrying in the Global South where constraints on the chief executives were often already weak prior to the pandemic. This project assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the personalization of executive power in 36 countries of the Global South.
    DFG, 2021-2024

    Research Project | 01/01/2022 - 31/12/2022

    Engaging the Indo-Pacific: German and Korean Perspectives on Regional Cooperation

    A policy-oriented research project bringing together the GIGA and the East Asia Institute in Seoul. The project aims at analysing German/EU and Korean strategies for Indo-Pacific engagement and identifying areas for in-depth consultation, coordination and cooperation.
    Korea Foundation, 2022

    Prof. Dr. Sook-Jong Lee

    Prof. Dr. Yul Sohn

    Prof. Dr. Chaesung Chun



    Research Platform Asia

    Exchange and cooperation with scholars from around the world is a decades-long tradition at the GIGA. Since 2015 we have been intensifying and consolidating this cooperation with the help of the GIGA research platforms. 

    The aim of the Asia Research Platform is to intensify cooperation and exchange between science, think tanks, the Federal Foreign Office, political foundations and other partners in the region.

    Research Platforms


    Scholarly excellence thrives on scholarly exchange, both with other region-specific research institutes and with those that concentrate on theory. At the GIGA, this scholarly exchange also refers to the continued commitment of the GIGA Institute for Asian Studies to cultivating various contacts in Germany and abroad, in both university- and non–university-based research sectors.

    In order to ensure continuous exchange in the areas of information, ideas and research materials and to foster research collaboration, the Institute for Asian Studies maintains a great number of professional relationships with research institutes and libraries in Europe, North America and particularly Asia. The GIGA Institute for Asian Studies is a founding member of the European Alliance for Asian Studies (Asia Alliance). Since 2015 the Asian Studies Institute has organised numerous collaborative international activities under the roof of its Research Platform Asia.

    German Association for Asian Studies

    In Germany the Asian Studies Institute works closely with the German Association for Asian Studies (DGA: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Asienkunde e.V.). It hosts the secretariat of the association and two scholars of the GIGA Institute for Asian Studies currently serve as the DGA’s Managing Director and Deputy Chairperson, respectively.

    President (ad interim)

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach is President (ad interim) of the GIGA.

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

    Regional Institutes

    Africa|Asia|Latin America|Middle East


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