GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies

Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien

When the political scientist Francis Fukuyama spoke of the “end of history” shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he had no idea what was in store for the world in the coming decades. The interdependence of economies and societies, the rise of the BRICS countries as global leading powers, terrorism and new forms of violence and conflict – the world has been in upheaval since then, and the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies is carrying out research in the thick of it.

Due to global power shifts, the public interest in areas outside the so-called West has grown considerably. This has seen Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East become focal points.

The GIGA is a leading research institute combining social science expertise on these four world regions. It explores developments in the field and links its knowledge to questions of global significance: Do democracies still have a chance? How are conflicts over resources resolved? What are the social and economic impacts of globalisation at the local level? How do new alliances between emerging powers change international relations?

For over 50 years, GIGA scholars have conducted research in these four world regions and with renowned international partners. They are also sought-after experts for decision-makers in politics, business and the media. As a member of the Leibniz Association, the GIGA follows the Leibniz principle of “theoria cum praxi”: science for the benefit of the people.


The GIGA emerged in 2006 after the restructuring of the German Overseas Institute (1964–2006). Located on the Inner Alster Lake, the GIGA has had a long partnership with the city of Hamburg. As the “gateway to the world”, Hamburg offers ideal conditions for the GIGA’s research.

Currently, the GIGA employs approximately 160 employees, including 90 academics. The latter, under the umbrella of the GIGA, carry out research at the four regional institutes on the following:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • Middle East

They also work in the following four comparative research programmes:

  • Legitimacy and Efficiency of Political Systems
  • Violence and Security
  • Socio-economic Development in the Context of Globalisation
  • Power, Norms and Governance in International Relations

International networking and cooperation with local partners is a pillar of the GIGA’s research.


The GIGA is a foundation under the civil law of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. It is jointly funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the Hamburg Ministry of Science and Research and the other federal states. The GIGA also receives external funding, which accounts for around 25 per cent of the total annual budget of 10 million euros.