Peace and Security

The Peace and Security Research Programme analyses how identities and ideologies, institutional arrangements, and international interventions affect peace and conflict dynamics in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and investigates international violence and security trends.


  • How do we overcome violent conflict, and how do we create sustainable peace? This question is of key importance to understanding and shaping political, social, and economic developments in the twenty-first century. While interstate wars have become rare and the number of civil wars has decreased overall, violence remains a ubiquitous problem and new security challenges have emerged. The Peace and Security Research Programme examines peace and conflict processes in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and investigates international violence and security trends.

    International crises, protracted intrastate conflicts, and lower-level state and social violence destroy the lives of millions of people. They are also a major hindrance to development and put the security of individuals, social groups, states, and the world significantly at risk. We analyse the role of local, national, regional, and international actors in creating peace and security and overcoming conflict by advancing novel theoretical explanations and integrating state-of-the-art qualitative and quantitative comparative methods. Utilising networks with leading institutions in peace, conflict, and security research from several world regions the programme generates in-depth knowledge of the processes involved. Analysing the increasingly transnational nature of conflicts, security provision and peacebuilding, we aim to identify lessons for both scholars and policymakers.

    The researchers in the Peace and Security Programme are organised in three teams that analyse how identities and ideologies, institutional arrangements, and international interventions affect peace and conflict dynamics.

    The Identities, Ideology, and Conflict Research Team studies how social identities, religion and ideology affect processes of mobilisation and contention, as well as how they may intensify or reduce insecurity and conflict. The Institutions for Sustainable Peace Research Team explores whether and how institutional arrangements such as power-sharing governments, security sector reforms, and the governance of climate change and forced migration help to promote peace but may also contribute to the emergence of conflict. The Interventions and Security Research Team studies how external actors and international and regional arrangements affect peace and conflict dynamics and what the security implications of their interventions are at the local, national, regional, and international levels.

    In Brief | 12/11/2021

    Call for Papers: International Conference "Iraq Twenty Years After the US Invasion: Memory Politics, Governance and Protests"

    We invite paper abstracts for an international conference that sheds new light on the main factors shaping Iraqi politics and society since the US invasion of 2003. Please send your application until 20 January 2022. The event will take place in Hamburg, 29–31 March 2023.

    Panel Discussion | 09/11/2021

    Climate Migration: Implications for Peace Policy

    In order to maintain sustainable peace in times of global warming, German foreign policy must recognise the connection between climate change, migration and conflict and develop approaches to solutions. IFSH and GIGA jointly invite all interested parties to a digital discussion event.

    Frankfurter Rundschau (auch: Rheinpfalz und Stuttgarter Nachrichten) | Interview | 09/01/2022

    „Völliger Rückzug wäre jetzt falsch“

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

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

    Online Workshop | 21/10/2021 - 22/10/2021

    MIASA Publishing Workshop

    The MIASA Publication Workshop aims to foster research by African scholars to facilitate their publication in renowned African Studies journals. In doing so, it seeks to address asymmetries in knowledge production, which is the overarching goal of the Maria Sibylla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA).

    GIGA Focus Middle East | 4/2021

    “The Right to Have Rights”: Legal Identity Documentation in the Syrian Civil War

    During the civil war in Syria, various actors issued legal identity documents. The disadvantages of this web of interlocking documents for people's – especially women’s – parental, inheritance and property rights are analysed in this GIGA Focus Middle East.

    Dr. Marika Sosnowski

    Research Fellow

    Noor Hamadeh

    GIGA Focus Global | 6/2021

    The Shadow Pandemic: Policy Efforts on Gender-Based Violence during COVID-19 in the Global South

    With the pandemic, the risk of violence against women and children, especially within the home, increased further as people sheltered at home at the same time that they faced great financial and emotional stress. The authors of this GIGA Focus assess government efforts to address and treat gender-based violence.

    In Brief | 15/09/2021

    GIGA Researcher Asma Khalifa Briefs UN Security Council on Situation in Libya

    GIGA Doctoral Researcher Asma Khalifa briefed the United Nations Security Council on the current situation in Libya at its meeting on 10 September 2021. Khalifa explained that Libyans are yearning for political stability and, to that end, looking with hope towards the December elections.

    GIGA Focus Africa | 5/2021

    Development Cooperation Policy with Africa: Dare for More Coherence

    Development policy plays a crucial role in addressing global as well as African challenges. The authors of this GIGA Focus Africa expect the future German Federal Government to ensure coherence in development policy and joint action by the foreign, economic and environment ministries.

    European Review of International Studies | 12/2021

    Introduction: Weathering the Storm?: The EU as a Global Peace and Security Actor in Turbulent Times

    PD Dr. Andreas Grimmel

    European Review of International Studies | Brill Academic Publishers | 12/2021

    Special Issue: Weathering the Storm? The EU as a Global Peace and Security Actor in Turbulent Times

    PD Dr. Andreas Grimmel

    Studies in Conflict and Terrorism | 12/2021

    Threat Perception, Policy Diffusion, and the Logic of Terrorist Group Designation

    Many governments maintain lists of terrorist groups, imposing sanctions on designated organizations. However, the logic behind designation remains unclear. This paper develops arguments for why attack attributes, group attributes, and policy diffusion might explain proscription.

    Mirna El Masri

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Brian J. Phillips

    Research Project | 01/01/2022 - 30/06/2023

    Sanctions Termination in Times of Crises: Unpacking the Role of External Shocks

    In March 2020, the UN Secretary-General called for the easing of sanctions against Iran in response to COVID-19. Hence, external shocks are potentially related to sanctions termination. Yet, the effect of different types of external shocks such as pandemics, natural disasters, and economic crises on the (gradual) removal of sanctions has not been systematically studied. This project examines when and how external shocks affect sanctions termination through a nested research design combining new data collection, statistical analyses, and two case studies.
    DFG, 2022-2023

    Dr. Julia Grauvogel

    Senior Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Hana Attia

    Doctoral Researcher

    Research Project | 01/10/2021 - 30/09/2022

    Rebellion, Elections and the Pandemic in the Central African Republic: COVID-19 and its Impact on Deep-seated Patterns of Governance

    The COVID-19 pandemic reaches the Central African Republic (CAR) just when citizens were passing milestones for ending the country's conflicts through a peace agreement and national elections. A new rebellion broke out in late 2020 that hindered medical access to some of the most impoverished areas. An interplay of rebellion, elections and containing the pandemic have become the critical triangle deciding whether CAR can overcome its deep-seated patterns of governance that are stifling political and economic progress.
    DFG, 2021-2022

    Dr. Tim Glawion

    Research Fellow

    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

    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

    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 | 01/03/2021 - 30/09/2022

    Corona Conflicts? Analysing Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Violent Conflict in Africa

    At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, decision-makers warned that the pandemic might lead to more violent conflict in fragile states, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This project engages in a mixed-methods approach to study related relationships.
    Volkswagen Foundation, 2021-2022

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

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

    Mora Deitch

    Research Fellow

    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

    Team

    Selman Almohamad

    Research Fellow

    Hana Attia

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. André Bank

    Senior Research Fellow

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

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

    Dr. Sara Bazoobandi

    Research Fellow

    Yannick Deepen

    Research Fellow

    Mora Deitch

    Research Fellow

    Hayat Douhan

    Research Fellow

    Mirna El Masri

    Research Fellow

    Rosanna Fanni

    Doctoral Researcher

    Viviana García Pinzón

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Tim Glawion

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Julia Grauvogel

    Senior Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Dr. Jens Heibach

    Research Fellow

    Asma Khalifa

    Doctoral Researcher / Representative of Doctoral Researchers

    Markus A. Kirchschlager

    Doctoral Researcher

    Julia Köbrich

    Doctoral Researcher

    Tom Konzack

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. David Kuehn

    Senior Research Fellow / Coordinator GIGA Forum

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

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

    Nora Kürzdörfer

    Doctoral Researcher

    Max Montgomery

    Doctoral Researcher

    Désirée Reder

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Thomas Richter

    Senior Research Fellow / Editor GIGA Focus Middle East

    Dr. Adam Scharpf

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Dr. Marika Sosnowski

    Research Fellow

    Dr. Eric Stollenwerk

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Juliana Tappe Ortiz

    Doctoral Researcher

    Dr. Christian von Soest

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of RP 2

    Alex Waterman

    Research Fellow

    Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz

    Director of the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies


    Research Teams

    The researchers in the Peace and Security Programme are organised in three teams that analyse how identities and ideologies, institutional arrangements, and international interventions affect peace and conflict dynamics. The Identities, Ideology, and Conflict Research Team studies how social identities, religion and ideology affect processes of mobilisation and contention, as well as how they may intensify or reduce insecurity and conflict. The Institutions for Sustainable Peace Research Team explores whether and how institutional arrangements such as power-sharing governments, security sector reforms, and the governance of climate change and forced migration help to promote peace but may also contribute to the emergence of conflict. The Interventions and Security Research Team studies how external actors and international and regional arrangements affect peace and conflict dynamics and what the security implications of their interventions are at the local, national, regional, and international levels.

    Research Team 1: Identities, Ideology, and Conflict

    The Identities, Ideology, and Conflict Research Team studies how religious and other social identities as well as ideologies affect processes of mobilisation and diverse forms of contentious politics, and how they either intensify or de-escalate insecurity and violent conflict. The Research Team also analyses how religion and ethnicity combine with material factors, such as natural resources, in shaping the trajectories of conflict.

    Based on extensive fieldwork and on cooperation with researchers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, we generate in-depth knowledge of the actors and micro-level processes involved. Moreover, we focus on the general impact that identities, religion and ideology have on conflict. As an interdisciplinary team that includes political scientists, historians, and religious studies experts, team members compare cases in and across the different world regions. In doing so, they employ qualitative as well as quantitative methods and work with mixed-method designs.

    The Research Team focuses on three areas: First, it analyses social and political actors and their mobilisation strategies. This work comprises research on political Islam and examines how and why violent and potentially violent Islamist groups radicalise or become more moderate. It also includes how Jihadi groups frame international developments to attract new followers in Western societies. Second, it investigates how religious factors influence the likelihood of armed conflict, and how they interact with other drivers of conflict and peace, such as ethnic identities. This investigation includes work with global data sets on the religious ideologies of rebels and different forms of religious violence. Finally, the Research Team looks at micro processes of conflict but also cooperation at the local level and at the influence that, for example, interethnic and religious relations have on these processes.

    Research Team 2: Institutions for Sustainable Peace

    The Research Team on Institutions for Sustainable Peace examines the drivers of peace and security, and also conflict and repression. Its members particularly focus on the transformational processes related to both formal and informal institutions. The team investigates which institutional arrangements help to create, foster, and promote peace and security (for instance power-sharing governments or security sector reform and the governance of climate change and forced migration), taking into account the influence of international, national, and local actors. Researchers pay equal attention to institutions and processes that may obstruct peace by analysing violent state and non-state actors, such as rebel organisations, organised crime, or the state security apparatus.

    The Research Team seeks to understand how institutions can help overcoming current challenges to peace and security. Its researchers evaluate the quality and stability of peace and support policymakers in anticipating conflict outbreak and escalation dynamics. To this end, the interdisciplinary team conducts research at international, regional, national, and subnational levels of analysis, using both quantitative and qualitative comparative methods. Team members have conducted fieldwork in places as diverse as Argentina, Chile, Central America, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Jordan, Lebanon, Nepal, Peru, Syria, South Sudan, and Sri Lanka.

    Research Team 3: Interventions and Security

    The Interventions and Security Research Team analyses the different forms of diplomatic, economic, and military intervention in conflicts by external actors such as the United Nations and regional organisations, states, and non-state actors. It asks under what conditions these actors intervene in certain conflicts but not in others; why they choose specific instruments for intervention; and what the consequences of intervention are for conflict resolution, for regional and international security, and for domestic politics in the targeted regimes. To address these questions, the Research Team adopts a cross-regional comparative perspective and combines qualitative and quantitative methods. Its approach is multilevel since it focuses on different kinds of external actors and the impact of their respective interventions at the international, regional, national, and local levels. With its focus on both peace-promoting and potentially conflict-escalating policies, including sanctions, peace operations, mediation and negotiations, the Research Team works at the intersection of peace and conflict studies as well as security studies.

    The team’s current and prospective research projects focus on the imposition, effectiveness and termination of international sanctions, on regional conflict resolution initiatives, United Nations peace operations, as well as on international mediation and negotiation processes.


    Speaker Team 1

    Dr. Eric Stollenwerk

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Speaker Team 2

    Dr. Adam Scharpf

    Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team

    Speaker Team 3

    Dr. Julia Grauvogel

    Senior Research Fellow / Speaker Research Team


    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

    Notification

    Sign up to receive email notifications about GIGA activities

    Social Media

    Follow us