Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

President (ad interim)

Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

  • Short CV

    • Since 04/2024: President of the GIGA (ad interim)
    • Since 08/2023: Co-Leader of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies (ad interim)
    • Since 06/2018: Honorary professorship at the Philipps-University Marburg
    • 06/2018 - 01/2020: Acting Director of the GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies
    • 09/2006 - 10/2008: Senior Researcher DSF-Project "Societal and political Fractures after War: Youth Violence in Cambodia and Guatemala", INEF, University Duisburg-Essen.
    • Since 1993: Senior Researcher of the GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies, research interests: peace and conflict, security policies, youth Regional focus Central America, Andean Region.
    • Since 1992: Independent Consultant (among others for the Foreign Ministry, Minis-try of Development Cooperation, GTZ, Bertelsmann Transformation Index).
    • 1991: PhD in Political Science, University of Hamburg.
    • 1990 - 1992: Researcher at the Research Center on Wars, Armament and Development, University of Hamburg.
    • 1987 - 1990: Researcher at the Institute of Political Science University of Hamburg (Prof. Dr. K.J. Gantzel), Coordination of the Research Group on Cau-ses of War.
    • 1987: Researcher at the Institute for Iberoamerican Studies, Hamburg (July - September)
    • Education: Studies in Political Science, Spanish, Contemporary History in Madrid, Erlangen, Sevilla and Hamburg

    Current Research

    • Postwar Societies

    • Violence and Social change

    • Youth

    Countries and Regions

    • Central America

    • Colombia

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

    President (ad interim)

    T. +49 40

    Edited Volume | FESCOL Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Colombia | 08/2021

    The Entanglements of Peace: Reflections on the long road of transforming the armed conflict in Colombia

    The publication of this study, which seeks to analyse and understand the variety of conceptions of peace in Colombia, comes at a key but complex moment. The context of the pandemic has not only had an impact on the health of the Colombian population, but also on the quality of life of households.

    Kristina Birke Daniels

    Friedrich Ebert Foundation Colombia

    Elements in International Relations | Cambridge University Press | 11/2023

    Building Pathways to Peace: State–Society Relations and Security Sector Reform

    Local actors should be involved in peacebuilding processes and security sector reforms (SSR). The book presents a feminist and intersectoral conceptualisation of SSR as well as quantitative and qualitative findings from 42 post-conflict societies as well as from Afghanistan and Colombia. Open Access until 11 December 2023!

    Infographic | 09/2023

    How to deal with Non-state Armed Actors

    Dealing with NSAAs is complicated and complex shifting between repression and dialogue. NSAAs are highly flexibkle and able to adapt to changing local and global contexts. Policies must be comprehensive and include local communities as well as structural drivers of violence.

    Yannick Deepen

    Former GIGA Team member

    Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding | 03/2024

    Variations of Peace in Colombia

    Peace and conflict are not the same across territories and scales. Conceptualizing peace as a process based on three core functions of society and related norms allows us to identify variations in peacebuilding needs and perceptions. The entanglement of different scales shapes the diversity of peace and highlights the opportunities and challenges of peacebuilding and related norms, along with their diffusion and contestation.

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 1/2024

    Guatemala: A Vote for Turning the Tide

    In Guatemala, President Bernardo Arévalo took office on 15 January 2024, raising hopes of democratic reform. Still, an entrenched elite has continuously distorted the independence of the judiciary. Not only are elections highly contested; democracy itself is on the line. Can Guatemala turn the tide?

    Elements in International Relations | Cambridge University Press | 11/2023

    Building Pathways to Peace: State–Society Relations and Security Sector Reform

    Local actors should be involved in peacebuilding processes and security sector reforms (SSR). The book presents a feminist and intersectoral conceptualisation of SSR as well as quantitative and qualitative findings from 42 post-conflict societies as well as from Afghanistan and Colombia. Open Access until 11 December 2023!

    GIGA Working Papers | 11/2023

    Coping with Complexity: Dealing with Non-State Armed Actors

    Non-state armed actors come in a variety of shapes including warlord-led groups. In war or lower-level armed conflict, and violence-prone contexts, these groups pose severe problems to peacebuilding, democratic governance, and sustainable development. This trend analysis maps cross-regional developments.

    Yannick Deepen

    Former GIGA Team member

    Edited Volume | 10/2023

    Venezuela: de la Pax Malandra a la Paz Ciudadana

    Venezuela is an unusual context for a study on peace and peacebuilding. The book provides an analysis with a “conflict and peace” lens besides the fact that its high levels of violence are not an open war or armed conflict.

    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 - 31/03/2024

    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

    Research Project | 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2026

    Leibniz Research Network "Environmental Crises - Crisis Environments"

    The Leibniz Research Network "Environmental Crises - Crisis Environments" (Leibniz CrisEn), led by PRIF, bundles and networks the professional and methodological-technical competencies of 15 Leibniz Institutes in the environmental, life, spatial, social and economic sciences. The researchers of the participating institutions record and investigate crisis-like environmental changes and the interactions between the scientific and social phenomena that underlie the attributions or denials of the changes in our environment as crises.
    Leibniz Association, 2021 - 2026

    Research Project | 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2024


    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

    Radio Bremen 2 | Interview | 21/08/2023

    Ecuador nach den Wahlen

    Radioeins RBB | Interview | 18/08/2023

    Ecuador wählt am Sonntag neuen Präsidenten

    Im Mai rief der ecuadorianische Präsident Guillermo Lasso zu vorgezogenen Neuwahlen für Präsident und Parlament auf. Am 10. August wurde der Präsidentschaftskandidat Fernando Villavicencio ermordet. Was bedeutet dies für die Wahlen am 20. August? 

    deutschlandfunk Kultur | Interview | 12/08/2023

    Mord an Politiker in Ecuador – der Umgang mit Drogenkartellen in Lateinamerika

    The asasination of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio becomes part of Latin America's search for security policies to confront organised crime. Two models are pursued: El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele opts for extreme repression while Colombian President Gustavo Petro favours talks for disarmament.

    Workshop | 22/02/2024 - 23/02/2024

    Beyond the Liberal Peace: The Importance of Human Rights for Peace

    IBEI-GIGA Workshop Security, Conflict and Peace, IBEI, Barcelona Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach (Speaker)

    Over the last decade liberal peacebuilding was heavily criticised for its Eurocentric bias privileging civil and political rights. Nevertheless, peacebuilding needs a normative frame based not only on individual rights but also on collective human rights as the basis for violence reduction, participation and conflict transformation.

    Conference | 14/02/2024 - 16/02/2024

    Violent Legacies, Social Movements, Uncertain Futures

    Violent Legacies, Social Movements, Uncertain Futures, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José Désirée Reder (Organiser), Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach (Organiser), Alina Ripplinger (Panelist)

    In Central America, democracy and peacebuilding processes are currently threatened. Researchers and civil society representatives discussed potential pathways out of the crisis in a three-day workshop at the University of Costa Rica in San José, organised by GIGA.

    Teaching | Philipps-Universität Marburg | 2020

    Lateinamerika brennt

    Philipps-Universität Marburg Marburg Germany

    Mittelseminar Friedens- und Konfliktforschung FB 03

    Teaching | Universität Hamburg | 2015

    Violence and Inequality in Latin America

    Universität Hamburg Hamburg Germany

    Teaching | Universität Hamburg | 2011

    Youth and Violence

    Universität Hamburg Hamburg Germany


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