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 …