GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies

The GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies is one of the leading institutes for Middle East research in Germany and Europe. Scholars examine topics such as state and regime structures, energy security, violent conflicts, forced migration, Islamist movements, and the reshaping of the regional order.


  • The GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies is a leading institute in Germany and Europe for the study of political, economic, and social developments in the Middle East and North Africa. Scholars of GIGA’s Middle East Institute examine topics such as state and regime structures, energy security, violent conflicts, forced migration, Islamist movements, and the reshaping of the regional order. The Institute has developed context‐sensitive approaches based in Comparative Politics, Political Economy, and International Relations for assessing the region’s societies. The growing interaction between the MENA and its neighbouring regions such as the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and South Asia is being investigated in research projects that are informed by the GIGA’s signature approach of Comparative Area Studies. Strong expertise in political hotspots of the area and their development potential (e.g. Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen) makes the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies a key resource for decision makers and leading media. Researchers of the Middle East Institute maintain deep ties in the region and collaborate closely with local partners. The Institute operates the GIGA Research Platform Middle East in Beirut and Tunis and is a core partner in the Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb at Tunis University. The GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies engages prominently in associational life. It is a member of the Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission (EuroMeSCo) and the advisory council of the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies. GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies researchers are also active members of the German Middle East Studies Association for Contemporary Research and Documentation (DAVO).

    Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies

    T. +49 (0)40 - 428 25-504eckart.woertz@giga-hamburg.de

    Secretariat

    Gabriele Tetzlaff

    Secretary

    Daniela Wald

    Secretary


    Chapter in Edited Volume | 08/2022

    Auswirkungen des Gaza-Krieges 2021 auf Deutschland: eine mehrdimensionale Analyse des Radikalisierungsgeschehens

    Der Gaza-Krieg vom Mai 2021 hatte deutlich messbare Auswirkungen auf das Radikalisierungsgeschehen in Deutschland. Mit dem im MOTRA-Verbund zur Verfügung stehenden Instrumentarium werden in diesem Beitrag zum ersten Mal die Rückwirkungen eines Ereignisses, das außerhalb Deutschlands stattgefunden hat, dargestellt.

    Dr. Katrin Brettfeld

    Simon Greipl

    Julian Hohner

    Dr. Sophia Hunger

    Dr. Eylem Kanol

    Prof. Dr. Peter Wetzels

    Chapter in Edited Volume | 08/2022

    Der Gaza-Krieg im Mai 2021

    Die Eskalationsdynamiken zwischen Israelis und Palästinenser:innen, die im Mai 2021 zu einem militärischen Konflikt zwischen militanten islamistischen Palästinenser:innenorganisationen und Teilen der israelischen Streitkräfte führten, waren durch zwei internationale Entwicklungen geprägt: Erstens die proisraelische Haltung der Trump-Administration (2017–2021) und zweitens die von einigen arabischen Golfstaaten angestoßenen Bemühungen, ihre Beziehungen mit Israel zu normalisieren.

    Selman Almohamad

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Thomas Richter

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation" Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

    Deutsche Welle | Quote | 24/08/2022

    Energiekrise: Algerien ist in Europa wieder gefragt

    Zur Versorgung Europas mit Erdgas sollen neue Abkommen mit Algerien geschlossen werden. Dies führt innenpolitisch zur kurzfristigen Stabilisierung der algerischen Autokratie. 

    Dr. Maria Josua

    Research Fellow / Research Team Spokesperson

    Research | 21/08/2022

    ECPR General Conference 2022: GIGA Scientists Present Their Research

    This year, GIGA researchers will again present their research results at the main conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) in virtual lectures and on-site panels in Innsbruck, Austria. The annual congress serves as a networking event and drives the development of research in all Political Science subdisciplines.

    GIGA Working Papers | 08/2022

    Justifications of Repression in Autocracies: An Empirical Analysis of the Maghreb, 2000–2010

    How do autocrats communicate everyday acts of repression? This paper introduces and analyses a novel dataset on justifications for incidents of repression in Morocco and Tunisia during the years 2000–2010, showing that the chosen forms thereof influence how officials subsequently talk about them.

    Dr. Maria Josua

    Research Fellow / Research Team Spokesperson

    Regional Environmental Change | 10/2022

    Scorched Earth Tactics of the “Islamic State” After its Loss of Territory: Intentional Burning of Farmland in Iraq and Syria

    This article examines the causes of uncontrolled and irregular fires within farmlands in parts of the two countries in 2019–2020 and quantify their extent spatiotemporally using a combination of medium and coarse-resolution satellite imagery, land cover, precipitation, temperature data, and multiple sources of armed violence data.

    Hadi H. Jaafar

    Lara Sujud

    Energy Research & Social Science | 09/2022

    Whither Rentierism Following the 2014 Oil Price Decline: Trajectories of Policy Adjustment in the Arab Gulf

    This paper looks at key trajectories of policy adjustment across member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—a region shaped by state-controlled income from exporting hydrocarbons—since 2014, the year in which the price of crude oil dropped significantly.

    Dr. Thomas Richter

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation" Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

    Infographic | 08/2022

    Regional Neighbourhoods Matter for Peacebuilding

    Neighbours, regional organisations and networks of different actors play an important role for conflict dynamics. They can either promote peacebuilding or the prolongation and escalation of violent conflicts. The infographic illustrates this.

    Chapter in Edited Volume | 08/2022

    Auswirkungen des Gaza-Krieges 2021 auf Deutschland: eine mehrdimensionale Analyse des Radikalisierungsgeschehens

    Der Gaza-Krieg vom Mai 2021 hatte deutlich messbare Auswirkungen auf das Radikalisierungsgeschehen in Deutschland. Mit dem im MOTRA-Verbund zur Verfügung stehenden Instrumentarium werden in diesem Beitrag zum ersten Mal die Rückwirkungen eines Ereignisses, das außerhalb Deutschlands stattgefunden hat, dargestellt.

    Dr. Katrin Brettfeld

    Simon Greipl

    Julian Hohner

    Dr. Sophia Hunger

    Dr. Eylem Kanol

    Prof. Dr. Peter Wetzels

    Chapter in Edited Volume | 08/2022

    Der Gaza-Krieg im Mai 2021

    Die Eskalationsdynamiken zwischen Israelis und Palästinenser:innen, die im Mai 2021 zu einem militärischen Konflikt zwischen militanten islamistischen Palästinenser:innenorganisationen und Teilen der israelischen Streitkräfte führten, waren durch zwei internationale Entwicklungen geprägt: Erstens die proisraelische Haltung der Trump-Administration (2017–2021) und zweitens die von einigen arabischen Golfstaaten angestoßenen Bemühungen, ihre Beziehungen mit Israel zu normalisieren.

    Selman Almohamad

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Thomas Richter

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation" Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

    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 - 31/12/2024

    Explaining Middle-Power Engagement in External Regions: A Comparison of Iranian, Saudi, and Turkish Sub-Saharan Africa Policies

    By means of a comparative historical analysis of Iranian, Saudi-Arabian, and Turkish engagement in Africa following the continent’s decolonization processes and running up until 2020, this project seeks to make sense of middle-power engagement in external regions. First, the project will identify the periods of shifting IST engagement in Africa. Second, it will analyze the reasons why, and the conditions under which, IST have stepped up—or reduced—their foreign policy efforts in Africa. Third, it will develop mid-range generalizations on middle-power engagement in external regions.
    DFG, 2022-2024

    Dr. Jens Heibach

    Research Fellow

    Research Project | 01/12/2021 - 30/11/2024

    Migration and Im/Mobility in the Global South during a Pandemic (DFG Network)

    The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to novel experiences of isolation, mobility restriction and exclusion. Mobile populations are particularly affected when borders are closed and migrants are turned away, commuters are denied border crossings, resettlements are suspended or unlawful deportations are justified by pandemic-related risks. This network brings together twenty migration researchers to collect data, build theory, and gain new knowledge about the impact of the pandemic on the Global South.
    DFG, 2021-2024

    Prof. Dr. Heike Drotbohm

    Dr. Antje Missbach

    Judith Altrogge

    Jun.-Prof. Dr. Soledad Alvarez Velasco

    Dr. Sabine Mohamed

    Dr. Tabea Scharrer

    Dr. Gerhild Perl

    Dr. Dora Sampaio

    Dr. Victoria Kumala Sakti

    Dr. Megha Amrith

    Dr. Wayne Palmer

    Yaatsil Guevara

    Dr. Magdalena Suerbaum

    Dr. Monika Palmberger

    Dilshad Muhammad

    Dr. Franzisca Zanker

    Prof. Dr. Jelena Tosic

    Maria Lassak

    Dr. Katja Girr

    Prof. Dr. Magnus Treiber

    Research Project | 01/06/2021 - 30/11/2021

    A Different Kind of Refugee: A Case Study of the Emirates’ Syrian Migrants Seeking Citizenship in Europe

    In the absence of access to citizenship rights and permanent residencies in the Gulf States, Syrian migrants of the Gulf are increasingly seeking alternative permanencies elsewhere. Through an ethnography in Berlin and Hamburg, this project aims to explore how Syrians, born and raised in the UAE, navigate the ‘asylum seeking route’ to Western Europe, taking into consideration the situation in Syria and its effects upon their relationship to citizenship and future plans, within the Gulf and Europe. AvH, 2021

    Dr. İdil Akıncı

    Formerly Visiting Fellow

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

    SAGE-Centre: Sustainable Adaptation to Global Change in the Middle East

    In dealing with climate change, scientific cooperation between emerging countries and industrialised nations is of particular importance. The GIGA is part of the Climate and Environment Centre SAGE – one of four global centres on the topic, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service and the Federal Foreign Office. SAGE will contribute to empowering Middle Eastern societies to create a science-based, adaptive and sustainable management of natural resources in a changing world.
    DAAD, 2021-2025

    Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies

    Research Project | 01/04/2021 - 31/03/2024

    World Order Narratives of the Global South (WONAGO)

    The decades since the late twentieth century are marked by the end of the bipolar world order and the rise of countries of the Global South. Most explanations focus on political and economic power shifts and do not pay much attention to ideas of order, especially those prevalent in the Global South. To provide a more inclusive perspective, this project researches world order narratives in Latin America, Africa, Middle East and Asia. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of its Area Studies strategy.
    BMBF, 2021-2024

    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 | 01/10/2020 - 31/10/2021

    Policy Tracker on Gender-Based Violence

    The policy tracker aims to provide context, insight and analysis into governmental response to issues of gender based violence during the coronavirus pandemic. We will collect data globally, and engage in more detailed case studies of a smaller set of countries. Our goal is to create a publicly available knowledge exchange platform for policy-makers, scholars and advocates.
    BMZ, GIGA, 2020-2021

    Prof. Dr. Merike Blofield

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies

    Asma Khalifa

    Doctoral Researcher / Representative of Doctoral Researchers

    Team

    Hager Ali

    Doctoral Researcher

    Selman Almohamad

    Research Fellow

    Dr. André Bank

    Senior Research Fellow

    Dr. Sara Bazoobandi

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Khalil Dahbi

    Research Fellow

    Mira Demirdirek

    Research Fellow

    Hayat Douhan

    Research Fellow

    Ardahan Özkan Gedikli

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Jens Heibach

    Research Fellow

    Dastan Jasim

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Maria Josua

    Research Fellow / Research Team Spokesperson

    Asma Khalifa

    Doctoral Researcher / Representative of Doctoral Researchers

    Markus A. Kirchschlager

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Alyssa Miller

    Research Fellow

    Diba Mirzaei

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Thomas Richter

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation" Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

    Mona Saleh

    Doctoral Researcher

    Swantje Schirmer

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Marika Sosnowski

    Research Fellow

    Hamid Talebian

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Hakkı Taş

    Research Fellow

    Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies



    Visiting Fellows

    Can Özelgün

    Visiting Fellow


    Cooperations

    DAVO: German Middle East Studies Association for Contemporary Research and Documentation

    • DAVO is the leading association of Middle East scholars in Germany.

    • DAVO advocates a relevant, contemporary and interdisciplinary approach to Middle East scholarship.

    • Each year, DAVO holds an annual international convention, for which the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies often organises panels.

    • The Middle East Studies Institute assists in the publication of DAVO white papers.

    EuroMeSCo: Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission

    • Members of the EuroMeSCo network come from 33 of the member states of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). EuroMeSCo unites the most salient research institutions working on relations between Europe and North Africa/the Middle East. Currently, 99 research institutions are integrated into EuroMeSCo.

    • EuroMeSCo’s research activities are oriented towards foreign policy and security policy and work to achieve the goals of the UfM.

    • Depending on the topic, the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies participates in the development of EuroMeSCo’s annual research agenda.

    Cooperation Agreements

    Through the signing of cooperation agreements, the Middle East Studies Institute has been able to expand its collaboration with leading research institutes and lay the groundwork for formal cooperations in research and knowledge transfer. Collaborations were agreed upon with the following institutions:

    • Lebanese American University, Beirut, Libanon (LAU)

    • Observatoire Tunisien de la Transition Démocratique, Tunis (OTTD)

    • Rabat Social Studies Institute, Rabat/Marokko (RSSI)

    Cooperation Partners

    Furthermore, in the context of specific research projects, the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies works closely with other European, North African and Middle Eastern contracted partners, including:

    The GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies also provides a temporary home base to various visiting scholars.

    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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