Global Orders and Foreign Policies

The Global Orders and Foreign Policies Research Programme deals with the fragmenting global order and its implications for our understanding of multilateralism as well as its problem-solving capacities. The scholars analyse major trends, such as climate change, global health crises, populism, and global power shifts.

  • What kind of regional and global orders develop in contemporary global politics? How do the policies of diverse actors, ranging from powers in the Global South to activists and other non-state actors, affect these regional and global orders and their institutions? Two key processes critically affect global politics today: first, the emergence of new or previously marginalised actors, and second, the development of regionally varying sets of institutions and principles. The Global Orders and Foreign Policies Research Programme studies the new complexity of global politics as a result of these processes, focusing on the future of regional and global institutions and the (foreign) policies of the diverse actors that engage with them.

    We analyse major trends, such as climate change, global health crises, populism, global power shifts, the new importance of South-South relations, and how they transform global order, for instance through the emergence of new steering mechanisms in an increasingly complex global system. This also critically includes research on both traditional foreign policy-making but also the growing importance of transnational linkages between domestic actors, including business, political parties and civil society groups. In doing so, the RP blends International Relations with expertise from comparative politics, economics and other social sciences disciplines represented at the GIGA. Integrating quantitative and qualitative methods, we develop and discuss notions of global order, multilateralism, governance and justice from a diversity of vantage points, with a special focus on those ideas emanating from the regions of the Global South. An important aspect of this work are our manifold partnerships and networks in the GIGA regions. This allows to us contribute to the inclusive theorisation of international affairs and produce policy-relevant empirical expertise.

    We conduct this work in two research teams. The International Institutions and Legitimacy Research Team analyses the interaction of normative changes in the global order with the authority and legitimacy of international institutions, particularly considering global power shifts. The Ideas, Actors and Global Politics Research Team examines how specific actors’ identities, ideas and foreign policy preferences drive transformations of global order. It explores, for instance, the international responsibilities rising powers from the Global South are ready to accept within global multilateralism or the foreign policy preferences of populist governments.

    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.

    Lecture Series | 11/02/2022

    Franco-German Observatory of the Indo-Pacific

    The Franco-German Observatory invites key actors from the Indo-Pacific to discuss questions of economic interdependence and independence, of trade and investment, and the expectations the countries of the Indo-Pacific might have towards the "West". Upcoming talk by Dr. Collin Koh.

    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 Forum | 17/11/2021

    Safeguarding the “Rules-based Order”? Europe Navigates the Shallow Waters of the Indo-Pacific

    Along with other European countries, Germany has also sent a warship, the frigate "Bayern", on a mission in the Indo-Pacific with the aim of securing “rules-based” international politics in the region. The experts of this GIGA Forum/GIGA Talk discuss the challenges of this mission. Video of event now online!

    Conference | 09/12/2021 - 10/12/2021

    Franco-German Observatory on the Indo-Pacific Conference 2021

    This conference discusses the current geopolitical transformations taking place in the Indo-Pacific. The objective is to debate the stakes of these evolutions, their implications for our understanding of international politics in Asia, and their policy implications for European states and the European Union.

    Panel Discussion | 08/11/2021

    The Indo-German Partnership in a Changing World

    Our expert panel will discuss the long-standing partnership that India and Germany share in a historical perspective, and identify common interests, the potential for joint future action, and the role their interaction could play on the global stage. This event is part of the India Week Hamburg 2021.

    In Brief | 18/11/2021

    Digital “Hamburg Summit – China meets Europe”

    The GIGA is a scientific partner of the 2021 Hamburg Summit, whose recurring annual motto is “China meets Europe.” In this year’s one-day virtual conference, high-level representatives from business, politics, and academia will discuss current topics in European–Chinese economic relations.

    In Brief | 30/09/2021

    Call for Papers: " Regional Conference on Asian Scripts"

    Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar (GIGA) and Prof. Dr. Michael Zürn (WZB) are organising the SCRIPTS Cluster of Excellence “Regional Conference on Asian Scripts”, 21 to 23 February 2022. Please see the call for papers here and submit your proposals by 10 December. Submissions from scholars working in the region are particularly welcome.

    Contribution | 01/2022

    China-GCC Relations in 2022

    Gaia: Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society | 12/2021

    It’s not Enough to be Right!: The Climate Crisis, Power, and the Climate Movement

    Dr. Angela Pohlmann

    Kerstin Walz

    Prof. Dr. Anita Engels

    Stefan Aykut

    Sören Altstaedt

    Dr. Arwen Colell

    Prof. Dr. Udo Dietrich

    Hauke Feddersen

    Annabarbara Friedrich

    Franziska Krieger

    Felix Schenuit

    Alvine Datchoua-Tirvaudey

    Dr. Markus Schulz

    Jun.-Prof. Dr. Cathrin Zengerling

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

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

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

    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 | 01/09/2021 - 31/08/2023

    Ensuring Safe, Transparent and Mutually Beneficial Collaboration with China at Analytical Research Infrastructures

    The joint project WIKOOP-INFRA will draw up empirically grounded guidelines that offer researchers from Germany and the EU support and guidance for scientific cooperation with their Chinese colleagues at large research infrastructures under existing framework conditions.
    BMBF, 2021-2023

    Dr. Margot Schüller

    Senior Research Fellow

    Research Project | 01/09/2021 - 31/08/2023

    Performance Monitoring Asia-Pacific Research Area, Phase II

    The Asia-Pacific research area (APRA) comprises about half of the world's population and some of its most dynamic economies. The importance of the region as producer of knowledge is reflected in its growing number of international publications and patents, as well as development of new (digital) business models. By analysing the performance of science, technology, and innovation in the APRA, the project aims at supplying an empirical-evidence base for the strategic further development of cooperation with countries in Asia-Pacific.
    BMBF, 2021-2023

    Research Project | 01/06/2021 - 31/05/2023

    Leader Types and (Liberal?) Narratives of the COVID-19 Pandemic

    This project compares decision-makers in the pandemic, with a focus on leaders, health and finance ministers. The role of these ministers is taken into account because much debate has revolved around the issues of life versus livelihoods. It considers the degree to which these persons are “experts” in the relevant policy area. It further investigates the extent to which leaders and ministers referred to scientific expertise and, when they did so, which particular disciplines they relied on.
    DFG, 2021-2023

    Research Project | 01/06/2021 - 31/05/2024

    Populism and Foreign Policy

    What are the implications of the global rise of populism for international politics? Episodes such as Brexit or US President Trump's withdrawal from the Iran Agreement suggest that populists in power fuel international tensions, weaken multilateralism and undermine global governance. However, existing preliminary work on the Global South shows that this is not automatically the case. The project seeks explanations for this variance in the effects of the formation of populist governments on foreign policy.
    DFG, 2021-2024

    Dr. Johannes Plagemann

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Prof. Dr. Sandra Destradi


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

    World Order Narratives of the Global South

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

    Digital Diplomacy and Statecraft (DigiTraL Diplo): Leg I of GIGA Digital Transformation Lab (DigiTraL) - A Global Approach to Digitalisation

    Digital Diplomacy and Statecraft (DigiTraL Diplo) is funded by the Federal Foreign Office. It is the first leg of a larger research endeavour, envisioned to include Digtal Warfare and Development at a later stage. DigiTraL Diplo focuses on how digital transformation offers new opportunities, challenges, and instruments for foreign policy. It will identify the chances and (security) threats of digitalization to advance adequate responses of (digital) diplomacy.
    FFO, 2021-2023


    Aniket Bhavthankar

    Doctoral Researcher

    Rafael Castro Alegría

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Sinan Chu

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Khalil Dahbi

    Research Fellow

    Lukian De Boni

    Doctoral Researcher

    Clara Franco Yáñez

    Doctoral Researcher

    Anna Fünfgeld

    Doctoral Researcher

    Ardahan Özkan Gedikli

    Doctoral Researcher

    Jessica Gomes

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Jens Heibach

    Research Fellow

    Prof. Dr. Heike Holbig

    Senior Research Fellow / Editor GIGA Focus Asia

    Markus A. Kirchschlager

    Doctoral Researcher

    Jan Klenke

    Doctoral Researcher

    Prof. Dr. Patrick Köllner

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Asian Studies / Vice President

    Niklas Krösche

    Doctoral Researcher


    Doctoral Researcher

    Diba Mirzaei

    Doctoral Researcher

    Anne Paschke

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Johannes Plagemann

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Dr. Miriam Prys-Hansen

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of RP 4

    Mona Saleh

    Doctoral Researcher

    Swantje Schirmer

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Henning Schmidtke

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Dr. Georg Strüver

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Hakkı Taş

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Iris Wieczorek

    Senior Research Fellow / GIGA Representative in Japan

    Dr. Christian Wirth

    Research Fellow

    Ximena Zapata M.

    Doctoral Researcher

    Research Teams

    The researchers in the Global Orders and Foreign Policies Programme are organised in two teams that deal with the new complexity of global politics:

    • The International Institutions and Legitimacy Research Team examines the interaction of normative changes in the global order with the authority and legitimacy of international institutions, particularly considering global power shifts .

    • The Ideas, Actors and Global Politics Research Team analyses the specific processes involved in the crafting of individual foreign policies as well as, more general, visions of international order across the Global South.

    Research Team 1: International Institutions and Legitimacy

    The International Institutions and Legitimacy Research Team examines the politics of international institutional development. We analyse how the rise of powers from the Global South, transnational activist groups, and other influential non-state actors shapes the formation of regionally varying sets of institutions and principles and how these regional transformations contribute to the growing complexity of the global multilateral order. This increasingly polycentric order provides, on the one hand, increased opportunities for interaction and more flexibility in terms of partner choice at the regional and international levels. On the other hand, the multiplication and overlapping of institutions engendered by the new order have caused fragmentation and disorder that call into question the normative foundations and empirical legitimacy of the multilateral order and its elemental institutions. Against this backdrop, we address the following questions:

    • Do global power shift and rising multipolarity trigger the spread of equity norms? How does the rise of equity norms shape the legitimacy of international institutions?

    • What are the effects of the widespread democratic backsliding and the emergence of China as a global power on democracy and human rights promotion through international organisations?

    • How do regional organisations legitimise themselves in this transforming environment, what communicative and institutional legitimation strategies do regional organisations use, and what factors explain differences and similarities across world regions?

    • How does the growing complexity of the international order shape the legitimacy of political institutions across levels of governance ?

    Research Team 2: Ideas, Actors and Global Politics

    Globalisation processes of the past decades have contributed to the internationalisation of domestic actors – from businesses to political parties or civil society groups. Meanwhile, a number of states in the Global South, from rising powers such as China and India to regional or middle powers such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have gained diplomatic visibility, economic influence, and political importance in an increasingly multipolar world. Thus, the specific political ideas, narratives, and ideologies endorsed by domestic actors involved in foreign policy-making in the Global South have become more important for understanding today’s international affairs. RT2 explores the variety of domestic and transnational actors involved in global and regional politics, their respective foreign policy interests, negotiation strategies, and worldviews. Taking into account domestic institutions and politics, team members also analyse the specific processes involved in the crafting of individual foreign policies as well as, more general, visions of international order across the Global South. Against this backdrop, we address the following questions:

    • How do global power shifts affect foreign policy roles across the Global South – and what are the consequences thereof for international “order”?

    • What are the origins and the specific content of normative ideas and political ideologies that affect the foreign policies of rising powers?

    • How do smaller (“secondary”) states react to the new competition amongst and between rising and established powers?

    • How do Diasporas and their politicisation affect international politics?

    • What impact does the formation of populist governments have on foreign policy?

    Speaker Team 1

    Dr. Henning Schmidtke

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Speaker Team 2

    Dr. Johannes Plagemann

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team


    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


    Sign up to receive email notifications about GIGA activities

    Social Media

    Follow us