Human Capacity Development, organizational transformation, conflict resolution, cross-cultural management, decentralization, development cooperation, ethno-psychology, identity, social cohesion, crisis prevention, training methodology, impact-monitoring, knowledge management.


1. Southeast Asia

Local Finance Management & Decentralization in Indonesia

Indonesia is, with a population of approximately 249 million people, the fourth largest country in the world. Since 1999, the decentralization of the island state has been promoted through a variety of laws and regulations. The systemic changes require, on the one hand, the monitoring of social, economical and environmental impacts and, on the other hand, result in a tremendous training need for stakeholders (including officials, policy makers, cities and villages).

LochTCR works on site in Indonesia together with researchers and lecturers from six universities (Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Malang, Manado, Makassar, Padang). The focus lies on issues of local financial management and modern capacity building in order to qualify national human resources for sustainable decentralization.

Documentation of endangered Languages and Cultures in West Papua (2007-2009)

The island of Papua is well known for its cultural diversity; however many of the 250 ethno-linguistic groups of West Papua are threatened to lose their intangible cultural heritage. With substantial support from the Volkswagen Foundation and the Max-Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, LochTCRestablished a Center for Endangered Languages Documentationin Manokwari (Indonesia) together with researchers at the Universitas Papua Negeri and the University of Münster.

Psychosocial Reconstruction in Timor-Leste (2002-2005)

How do people mentally process their deconstructive experiences of 24 years of violence and occupation? What helps, after years of trauma? Which traditional reconstruction modes are not (or insufficiently) recognized by modern development projects? Are religious sisters the better therapist?

Three years of research on the island of East Timor and learning the local language, Tetum, were necessary to investigate these and similar questions.

The theoretical answers and conclusions are published on 560 pages of the monograph "Haus, Handi & Halleluja - Psychosoziale Rekonstruktion in Osttimor (House, mobil phone & Hallelujah - Psychosocial reconstruction in Timor-Leste)"; IKO Publisher, 2007. In particular, the parallels of change management in developmental assistance and indigenous therapy gained international attention.

2. Himalayas & Hindukush

"Diagnostics in a trance": Traditional healers in the Kumaon (Northern India, 1998)
The so-called Dangaria are women who intentionally temporarily reach  an altered state of consciousness and help clients seeking advice in the elaboration of their own potential solution, by applying techniques quite similar to western client-centered therapy.
Field research with Dr. M. Kharkwal, University of Bairelly.

Civil-Military Cooperation in Afghanistan (2010)
After an initial consultant assignment for Caritas International in Kabul, (2005) a set of questions about the working with (and in) conflict were increasingly discussed among civil and military decisionmakers. LochTCR regularly adresses them in leadership courses of the German armed forces.

Acculturation dynamics of German aid workers (Nepal, 1995)
Crossing borders and cultures - whether voluntarily as developmental worker or forced as IDP - is always accompanied by cognitive and emotional processes that can be observed at the individual level, but also in groups. From the psychological genesis deciding to leave home to the acculturation on site, German aid workers in Nepal allowed a ethno-psychological look over their shoulders.

Gandhara-Art (Pakistan, 1992)

3. Cross-cultural Comparison (focus: the ASEAN Region)

Cooperating in cross-cultural value-research projects (with Shalom Schwarz and Klaus Boehnke, 1994)

Visiting Scholar at the Research School for Asian and Pacific Studies (RSPAS) Australian National University (2005)

Implementation of feasibility studies and development programs in Burma (2004), Cuba (2007), East Timor (2000-2010), Indonesia (2009-2010), China (2005), Mozambique (2010), Tanzania (1998)

Lectures and participation in the conferences of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (1998 - 2008)


Film productions on Intercultural Communication in Chiang Mai, Thailand (1999)
supported by the German Foundation for International Development

In the VOP Studios, Chiang Mai, a set of films was produced showing typical critical incidents in the cooperation of Asian and German partners. Later footage on Intercultural Communication in African, Middle Eastern and South American contexts were carried out in the German Foundation for International Development.

Indigenous Knowledge of Conflict and Regulation of Emotions: Papua & East Timor (2000, 2007)
supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Towards the end of the millennium two geopgraphic regions were very difficult to access in insular Southeast Asia: Shortly after the UN independence referendum, one could reach East Timor only in a plane of the World Food Program; the crisis regions of Papua were only accessible on foot. But the expedition effort was worth it: investigations proved that emotional expressions have a universal repertoire - but what causes "anger" in the highlands of Papua or what "traumatizes" can be only explained under consideration of a cultural context. One has to go there to understand it.

Action Research at the Instituto de Formação para Professores Cathólico in Baucau, East Timor (2002-2005)
supported by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Entwicklungshilfe and Misereor

Anthropologists historically tended to carry out research on the "strangers", rather than entering into dialogues with the people that mutually inspired and facilitated development processes. After independence in East Timor, the opportunity arose to discover not only unique ethnographic material (e.g. on the sacred house reconstructions of Makassae) and to observe the post-conflictual processes in Asia's least developed country, but also to contribute by setting up a Teacher Training Institute (ICFP) a lasting contribution to the development of education in this country.

With ships, buses & the Trans-Siberian Railway from the edge of Southeast Asia to Paris (2005)
together with A. Muir, Monash University

It is well known that taking deviations increase also local knowledge. And who wants to reach his destination quickly, should - as Confucius does recommend - go slowly. After three years in East Timor, the rapprochement towards Germany was slow via Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Russia, Eastern Europe. Though the re-entry shock was heavy ... - the expensive Euro was adopted as currency.

Shipping on the Mekong in an own wooden longboat, Laos/Cambodia (2001)
together with A. v. Törne

The rapids below Luang Prabang compel respect for the Mekong. At the latest when the paddledrifted away it became evident: panta rei...!!!

With a  Land Rover from Cologne to the Himalayas (1994)
with S. Schroeder

Since Afghanistan was impassable at that time, it made sense to take German highway A3 to Frankfurt: then from Austria to follow the Turkish trucks via Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria to Istanbul. From there, we inquired how to reach the Mount Ararat, afterwards the border to Iran. From here the route is quite straightforward: the ancient oasis towns point the way to Pakistan (via beautiful Loralai after Quetta), there following the Indus up to Lahore, crossing to India and along the Ganges to Varanasi. A Saddhu showed the way left up to Kathmandu ...