Human capacity develo­p­ment, migra­tion gover­nance, trans­mis­sion of values, immigra­tion & integra­tion, cross-cultural manage­ment, perspec­ti­vity, impact monito­ring, inter­cul­tural didactics.

Research Networks & cooperations

–> Bonner Institut für Migra­ti­ons­for­schung und Inter­kul­tu­relles Lernen
–> Netzwerk Flucht­for­schung
–> Research­gate
–> Publi­ca­tions


Documentation of Endangered Languages in Westpapua (2007–2009)

in coope­ra­tion with Max Planck Insti­tute, CELD & Volkswagen-Foundation

Postdoc­toral studies in Wespapua on the island of Yapen and in Manok­wari at UNIPA.
The island of Papua has the most languages in the world; many of the 250 ethno-lingu­i­stic groups of West Papua are threa­tened with the loss of their intan­gible cultural heritage. With the substan­tial support of the Volks­wagen Founda­tion and the Max Planck Insti­tute for Psycho­lin­gu­i­stics, a Center for Endan­gered Languages Documen­ta­tion was estab­lished in Manok­wari (Indonesia) together with resear­chers from the Univer­sitas Papua Negeri and the Univer­sity of Münster.

Local Finance Management & Decentralization in Indonesia (2006–2007)

Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world in terms of popula­tion with appro­xi­m­ately 261 million inhabi­tants. Since 1999, the decen­tra­liza­tion of the island state has been advanced by a large number of laws and regula­tions. The systemic changes require, on the one hand, the monito­ring of social, economic and ecolo­gical impacts and, on the other hand, there is an immense need for further training of the actors (officials, policy makers, cities & villages). We worked on site with scien­tists and lectu­rers from six univer­si­ties (Jakarta, Yogya­karta, Malang, Manado, Makassar, Padang). The focus was on issues of local finan­cial manage­ment and modern capacity building in order to qualify human resources for sustainable decen­tra­liza­tion nationwide.

Psychosocial reconstruction in East Timor (2002–2005)

How do people mentally process their decon­s­truc­tion experi­ences from 24 years of violence and resis­tance? What helps after years of trauma­tis­a­tion? Which tradi­tional forms of recon­s­truc­tion are not or only insuf­fi­ci­ently appre­ciated by modern develo­p­ment aid projects? Are nuns the better therapists?
Three years of research on the island of East Timor and learning the local language Tetum were neces­sary to answer these and similar questions.
The theore­tical answers are condensed into 560 pages of the monograph ”Haus, Handy & Halle­luja — Psycho­so­cial Recon­s­truc­tion in East Timor” (IKO Verlag, 2007). In parti­cular, the paral­lels of change manage­ment in develo­p­ment aid and indige­nous therapy received inter­na­tional attention.

Culture Comparative Conflict & Emotional Regulation (2000–2001)

with the support of the German Research Founda­tion (DFG)

Towards the end of the millen­nium, two regions in insular Southeast Asia were very diffi­cult to access: Shortly after the withdrawal of the Indone­sian army as a result of a UN indepen­dence referendum, East Timor could only be reached in a World Food Programme plane; the crisis regions of Papua were only acces­sible on foot. But the expedi­tion was worth the effort: Emotional expres­sions have a universal reper­toire — but what is annoying in the highlands of Papua or what trauma­tizes a Timorese person can only be unders­tood in a cultural context. You have to go there to under­stand the people.

Diagnostics in Trance in Northern India (1998)

The so-called Dangaria are tradi­tional healers who delibera­tely put themselves into a tempo­rary trance and help those seeking advice to work out their own poten­tial solutions using techni­ques that have paral­lels to Western psycho­the­rapy. Field research together with Dr. M. Kharkwal, Univer­sity of Bairellly

The Acculturation Dynamics of German Development Workers in Nepal (1995)

A change of culture — whether volun­tary as a develo­p­ment aid worker or forced as an IDP — is always accom­pa­nied by cogni­tive and emotional processes that can be observed at indivi­dual level, but also in groups. From the psycho­ge­nesis of the decision to leave the country to accul­tu­ra­tion on the spot, German develo­p­ment workers in Nepal were inter­viewed in multiple locations. (The way there was already exciting: In an own Landrover from Cologne to Kathmandu …)

Values in cultural comparison (1994–1995)

Colla­bo­ra­tion in compa­ra­tive cultural value research (with Shalom Schwartz and Klaus Boehnke, 1994);
Visiting Scholar at the Research School for Asian and Pacific Studies (RSPAS) of the Austra­lian National Univer­sity (2005);

Other short-term projects

Imple­men­ta­tion of feasi­bi­lity studies and develo­p­mental programmes in Burma (2004), Afgha­ni­stan (2005), Cuba (2007), East Timor (2000–2010), Indonesia (2009–2010), China (2005), Mozam­bique (2010), Tanzania (1998), Kosovo (2019), Ecuador (2020).


Human Capacity Development for Migration Governance (2020)

in coope­ra­tion with the Gesell­schaft für Inter­na­tio­nale Zusam­men­ar­beit (GIZ)

The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly & Regular Migra­tion (GCM) pose numerous new challenges for inter­na­tional organiza­tions (such as UNHCR, IOM, World Bank) and national decision-makers. In coope­ra­tion with the GIZ, the research project Human Capacity Develo­p­ment for Migra­tion Gover­nance (HCD4MG) at the HVF inves­ti­gates the question of how indivi­dual and organi­sa­tional capaci­ties are developed in selected count­ries in order to achieve a so-called ”triple-win effect” (for count­ries of origin, host count­ries and those seeking protec­tion) and thus ideally also contri­bute to achie­ving the Sustainable Develo­p­ment Goals (SDG) of the United Nations. Central to this is the concept of (multi-level) ”migra­tion gover­nance”, which usually refers to processes in which politics, business, civil society, refugees, migrants and other inter­de­pen­dent actors are involved in govern­ment action in order to develop — and imple­ment — coherent migra­tion policies. The analysis of training scripts, parti­ci­pa­tory obser­va­tion in capacity develo­p­ment measures and the syste­matic questio­ning of key actors in this context currently indicates that much of what has long been estab­lished as best practice in German Develo­p­ment Coope­ra­tion from advisory work with minis­tries, states and munici­pa­li­ties is being repli­cated; innova­tions (for example, in remit­tances manage­ment, ICT4refugees, the-future-of-work), however, are emana­ting precisely from count­ries such as Indonesia, Ecuador, Kosovo and the Global Forum on Migra­tion and Develo­p­ment (GFMD).

Transmission of values in the youth welfare system of Bonn  (2019–2020)

supported b the Youth Welfare Office Bonn and the Bonn Insti­tute for Migra­tion Research & Inter­cul­tural Learning (BIM eV)

Almost 30% of the people in North Rhine-Westphalia have a so-called ”migra­tion background”. At the begin­ning of 2019, 41,211 unaccom­pa­nied minors were living in Germany under youth welfare law.
Although their absolute number has been decre­asing conti­nuously since the end of 2016, after a phase of initial care, the socio-pedago­gical, psycho­lo­gical and youth welfare experi­ences and issues concer­ning ”integra­tion” and ”inter­cul­tural conflicts” in the coexis­tence of more than 40 nations are increasing.
The exami­na­tion of values and norms within German society as well as the cultural perspec­tives of young people from diffe­rent count­ries of origin is the starting point of this study at HVF. Reflec­tions on ”value forma­tion” (which is more profound than the mere ”media­tion” of norms and values) will be developed in a parti­ci­pa­tory manner with the key actors in youth welfare and brought into exchange with inter­di­sci­pli­nary value research in the German-speaking world.

Action Research Projects

Intercultural changes of perspective of students and refugees: Black Forest (2017, 2018, 2019)

suppported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) & the Office for Didac­tics (GFD)

Flatbread or Swabian raviolis? The negotia­tion processes of students of adminis­tra­tive sciences and refugees from Syria and numerous other count­ries of origin, who have already reached A2 language level in Germany and who together in a Black Forest cabin enter into an in-depth dialogue on culture, integra­tion, resis­tance, flight, de-Chris­tia­niza­tion of the Occident, moder­niza­tion of Islam, cultural standards, etc., are applied research par excel­lence.

Development of teaching materials at the Instituto Cathólico para Formação de Professores in Baucau: East Timor (2002–2005)

supported by the Arbeits­ge­mein­schaft Entwick­lungs­hilfe (AGEH) and Misereor

For a long time, ethno­lo­gists have tended to do research on foreig­ners instead of entering into a dialogue with people of other cultures, which inspires each other and initiates develo­p­ment processes. In East Timor, follo­wing the country’s indepen­dence, the oppor­tu­nity arose to work together with young local resear­chers not only to discover unique ethno­gra­phic material (e.g. on the sacred house recon­s­truc­tions of the Makassae) and to observe the post-conflict processes in Asia’s least developed country (LCD), but also to make a sustainable contri­bu­tion to the develo­p­ment of the country’s educa­tion system by estab­li­shing a teacher training insti­tute (ICFP).

Film productions on intercultural communication in Chiang Mai, Thailand (1999)

supported by the German Founda­tion for Inter­na­tional Develo­p­ment (DSE)

In the VOP Studio, Chiang Mai, numerous films on typical Critical Incidents were produced in coope­ra­tion between Asian and German partners. Later films on inter­cul­tural commu­ni­ca­tion in African, Oriental and South American contexts followed at the German Founda­tion for Inter­na­tional Development.

With ships, buses & Trans-Siberian Railway from the edge of South East Asia to Paris

As is well known, detours increase the knowledge of the place. And if you want to reach your desti­na­tion quickly, you should — so Confu­cius advises — go slowly. After three years in insular Southeast Asia, the rappro­che­ment with Germany in 2005 took place slowly via Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Russia and Eastern Europe. But the re-entry shock in the face of the intro­duc­tion of the Euro during a longer period of absence did not fail to occur …