Cooperation Partners

German Institute of Global and Area Studies (Germany)

Acronym: GIGA

The GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, formerly known as the German Overseas Institute, is a Hamburg-based research institute focused on political, economic and social developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North Africa, and the Near and Middle East.

Through a unique combination of area and comparative area studies, the GIGA examines not only the issues and challenges facing these specific regions but also new developments in North-South and South-South relationships. The GIGA is the largest German research institute for area and comparative area studies. It is also among the largest in Europe.

The GIGA holds a unique position in the international scientific community as a research institute which combines area studies and comparative area studies. The research activities combine systematic and comparative area studies within the framework of a two-dimensional organisational structure: specialists on different world regions are simultaneously assigned to four area studies research institutes and three overarching research programmes.

  • Institute of African Affairs / Institut für Afrika-Studien (IAA) (formerly Institute for African Affairs), Region: Africa (without North African countries)
  • Institute of Asian Studies / Institut für Asien-Studien (IAS) (formerly: Institute for Asian Affairs), Region: Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Korea and India
  • Institute of Latin American Studies / Institut für Lateinamerika-Studien (ILAS), (formerly: Institute for Ibero-American Studies), Region: Latin America
  • Institute of Middle East Studies / Institut für Nahost-Studien (IMES), Region: North Africa, Near and Middle East, Central Asia

Each institute blends (or “merges”) an area-studies approach with theory-based approaches taken from different disciplines in order to fulfil its research agenda. The research agenda and methods are drawn from political science, economics, and sociology. The research itself is based on the fundamental expertise of the staff dealing with these regions and requires a long-term and profound involvement with the research region.

In addition, the institute supports the advancement of junior researchers; provides consultation services to the media, the government, and civil society organisations; and makes information available to the public through its Information Centre. The GIGA thus defines itself as a think tank serving the academic, political and economic communities as well as the general public.

The GIGA is a member of the Leibniz Association, a scientific organisation comprised of 82 non-university research institutes and scientific service facilities. In addition, the GIGA is a member of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR). The individual institutes within the GIGA are also members of various national and regional associations such as AEGIS, EuroMeSCo, the Latin American Studies Association, and the European Alliance for Asian Studies.

The GIGA is jointly financed by the Federal Republic of Germany (Federal Foreign Office) and the State of Hamburg (Department of Economy and Labour). The budget is currently €6 million per year. GIGA has a staff of 104 agents, including 54 research staff members, among them 14 researchers working on Asia.

The GIGA Institute of Asian Studies

  • was founded in 1956 by the German Parliament and the German Federal Foreign Office. On January 1, 2007, the institute  became part of the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies and changed its name to the Institute of Asian Studies (IAS).
  • conducts research on political, economic, and social affairs in contemporary Asia. All researchers possess relevant regional expertise and language skills and make use of state-of-the-art theoretical and methodological approaches and tools.
  • focuses on analyses of political, economic, and social actors, structures and processes in Greater China, Japan, Southeast Asia, the two Koreas, and India.
  • is the only non-university research institute in Germany which deals solely with the Asia-Pacific region. It cooperates on a worldwide scale with relevant university departments and research units, think tanks, and academic associations (see Cooperation). The IAS belongs to the European Alliance for Asian Studies (Asia Alliance), a network of European institutions engaged in research on Asia.


Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
20354 Hamburg