GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies

The GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies conducts research on political and economic developments in the countries of South and Central America and the Caribbean. Core topics include the quality of political institutions and participation, challenges posed by conflicts and crime, and regional integration.


  • The GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies is the only non‐university research institute in Germany that is dedicated to the analysis of political, social, and economic developments in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). GIGA's Latin America scholars research, among other topics, the quality of democratic institutions and participation; the challenges posed by violence and crime; the interaction of inequality and politics; social, health and gender policies; immigration and emigration; and regional integration, with publications in lead journals and active knowledge transfer efforts.

    The GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies has a global reputation as one of the leading academic centres on LAC in Europe, and has a constant flow of doctoral and visiting researchers from LAC countries. GIGA's Latin America scholars have recently held leadership roles in organisations such as the German Latin American Studies Association (ADLAF), the Latin American Political Science Association (ALACIP), and the American Political Science Association (APSA). Moreover, the regional institute hosts the secretariat of the network “Red Euro‐Latinoamericana de Gobernabilidad para el Desarrollo” (RedGob), and co-edits, with Prof. Rossana Castiglioni from Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago de Chile, the Journal of Politics in Latin America, one of the four peer‐reviewed Open Access journals of the GIGA Journal Family. 

    The GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies is also actively engaged in knowledge exchange with the policy community, both here in Germany and the European Union as well as in LAC, most recently as a co-organiser, with the German Foreign Office, of a high-level event at the EU-LAC Foreign Ministers’ conference in 2020.

    In April 2022, the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies will hold its inaugural Policy Challenges in Latin America conference. This event, which also counts on the co-operation of the EU-LAC Foundation, will bring together a group of top social scientists from institutions in Latin America, Europe and the United States. More information will be forthcoming soon!

    Prof. Dr. Merike Blofield

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies

    T. +49 (0)40 - 428 25-560merike.blofield@giga-hamburg.de

    Secretariat

    Stephanie Stövesand

    ILAS Secretariat


    GIGA Forum | 26/01/2022

    Has America Come Back? President Biden’s Foreign Policy towards the Global South

    With the election of President Joe Biden, the world hoped for the United States’ return to diplomacy, multilateralism, and to a values-based foreign policy. In this GIGA Forum, experts examine US foreign policy in the first year of the Biden administration vis-à-vis Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 6/2021

    “Brazil must be back!” – But Real Climate Action Is Possible Only after Bolsonaro

    Brazil’s contribution to international climate protection is urgently needed, but during Bolsonaro’s presidency greenhouse gas emissions, support for agribusiness, and the repression of activists increased. Chances for a turnaround will come only with a change of president in the upcoming elections. An analysis.

    Anna Fünfgeld

    Doctoral Researcher

    GIGA Journal Family | 03/12/2021

    New Journal of Politics in Latin America 3/2021

    This issue of the Journal of Politics in Latin America examines, among other things, the response to COVID-19 containment measures in Brazil and Mexico, and the relationship between socio-economic inequalities and public opinion on Corona policies in Peru.

    Online Workshop | 02/12/2021 - 03/12/2021

    RedGob Workshop: Latin American Democracies in Crisis. Causes, Processes, and Remedies

    This workshop, organised by the GIGA, brings together renowned European and Latin American scholars from the Red Euro-Latinoamericana de Gobernabilidad para el Desarrollo to discuss and present their most recent research on the state of democratic institutions in Latin America. Los debates serán en inglés, español y portugués.

    Latin American's Environmental Policies in Global Perspective | 10/2021

    The EU's Beef with Mercosur: Geo-economics versus Climate Diplomacy

    This paper is part of a series of papers written by experts representing diverse perspectives, exploring how environmental challenges in Latin America increasingly condition the region’s most important diplomatic and economic relationships, and how those relationships in turn impact conditions on the ground.

    Democratization | 2022

    Contested, Violated but Persistent: Presidential Term Limits in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa: Introduction to Special Issue

    The term limits of presidents as a crucial institutional feature to safeguard democracy have often been contested by incumbents. The authors of this article argue that bringing together knowledge on Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa provides new empirical and theoretical insights.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of RP 1

    Democratization | 2022

    Sequences of Presidential-Term-Limit Reforms: Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa

    In this article the authors take a longitudinal view on presidential-term-limit reforms in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa since the third wave of democratization. Many countries (re)introduced the measure as a democratic safeguard against abuse of power; since then, it has been repeatedly challenged.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of RP 1

    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 | 01/10/2021 - 01/10/2022

    COVID-19 in Latin America: The Role of Social Protections for Households with Children

    This project analyzes the socio-economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the intervening role of social protections, on families with children in eight Latin American countries. The region, with high levels of inequality, labor informality, and urbanization, has been particularly hard hit by both pandemic deaths and economic effects. The social protection responses, however, have varied dramatically, from a massive emergency assistance plan in Brazil to virtually no additional cash transfer aid in Mexico.
    DFG, 2021-2022

    Prof. Dr. Merike Blofield

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies

    Research Project | 01/05/2021 - 30/04/2026

    Democratic Institutions in the Global South

    This project contributes new knowledge on the functioning of democratic institutions in the Global South, their (in)efficacy to constrain powerful executives, and the effects of particular institutions on both democratic quality and regime stability. The focus is on countries with presidential constitutions, i.e., those with directly elected presidents, an institutional choice that extended worldwide in the last decades.
    Leibniz Competition, 2021-2026

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of RP 1

    Research Project | 01/05/2021 - 31/12/2025

    German-Latin American Centre of Infection & Epidemiology Research and Training

    The COVID-19 pandemic is showing that infectious diseases can only be solved by global efforts; and that medical and social approaches must go hand in hand in order to provide solutions. Based on this understanding, the GIGA has become part of the new multi-disciplinary DAAD-funded „German-Latin American Centre of Infection & Epidemiology Research and Training“ – GLACIER and will work on a comparative study of vaccination policies in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. DAAD, 2021-2025

    Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann

    Lead Research Fellow / Head GIGA Berlin Office Editor GIGA Focus Latin America

    Valeria Morales

    Doctoral Researcher

    Research Project | 01/04/2021 - 31/03/2025

    INFECTIONS in an Urbanizing World - Humans, Animals, Environments

    The Leibniz Research Alliance INFECTIONS promotes interdisciplinary research across several sections of the Leibniz Association. It focuses on the spread of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) microbes in an urbanizing society. This is a topical issue since a number of endemic infectious diseases are the leading cause of disease and mortality worldwide. In addition, humanity is increasingly challenged by emerging infectious agents that are often zoonotic in nature, such as the coronavirus outbreak.
    Leibniz Association, 2021-2025

    Research Project | 01/03/2021 - 31/08/2022

    COVID-19 and the Dynamics of (Post-)War Violence: Lessons from Colombia and Syria

    What are the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the dynamics of violence during and after civil wars? The project analyses the pandemic-related reconfiguration of social and political orders in a comparative study of Syria and Colombia at subnational levels. In this way, it will provide new knowledge on violence dynamics in two of the most complex conflicts today and be able to suggest crucial lessons for similar (post-)war contexts in other parts of the world.
    Volkswagen Foundation, 2021-2022

    Research Project | 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2023

    Democratizing Security in Turbulent Times

    How is security provided in turbulent times and how does this affect the relationship between democracy and security? The proposed research training group examines fundamental reconfigurations of the relationship between security and democracy against the backdrop of growing political and societal polarisation, the advent of new digital technologies and the rescaling of security to arenas below and beyond the state.
    Landesforschungsförderung Hamburg, 2021-2023

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

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

    Research Project | 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2023

    PEACEptions

    Providing a conceptual framework in which different ideas of peace can be highlighted and their differences analysed in order to be able to formulate concrete proposals for peacebuilding is at the heart of this project. The concept is based on three elements whose meaning crosses historical and cultural boundaries: physical integrity, individual and collective human rights, and constructive conflict transformation.
    FES, 2021-2023

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

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

    Kristina Birke Daniels

    Team

    Prof. Dr. Merike Blofield

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies

    Rafael Castro Alegría

    Doctoral Researcher

    Pedro Costa

    Doctoral Researcher

    Yannick Deepen

    Research Fellow

    Katharina Fietz

    Doctoral Researcher

    Clara Franco Yáñez

    Doctoral Researcher

    Anna Fünfgeld

    Doctoral Researcher

    Viviana García Pinzón

    Doctoral Researcher

    Jessica Gomes

    Doctoral Researcher

    Aline-Sophia Hirseland

    Doctoral Researcher

    Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann

    Lead Research Fellow / Head GIGA Berlin Office Editor GIGA Focus Latin America

    Indi-Carolina Kryg

    Office of the President / Doctoral Researcher

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

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

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of RP 1

    Jayane Maia

    Doctoral Researcher

    Valeria Morales

    Doctoral Researcher

    Anne Paschke

    Research Fellow

    Johanna Pieper

    Doctoral Researcher

    Désirée Reder

    Doctoral Researcher

    Jorge A. Rincón Barajas

    Doctoral Researcher / Representative of Doctoral Researchers

    Luca Rochowski

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Adam Scharpf

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Dr. Henning Schmidtke

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Ana Soares

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Cordula Tibi Weber

    Research Fellow

    Siri Völker

    Doctoral Researcher / Research Data Management

    Ximena Zapata M.

    Doctoral Researcher



    Visiting Fellows


    President

    Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar is President of the GIGA. Her research focuses on international negotiations, economic statecraft, and multilateralism. She has a special interest in India, Asia, and the BRICS.

    Office of the President

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