The GIGA was founded in 1964 as the German Overseas Institute (Deutsches Übersee-Institut) by the City of Hamburg and the Hamburg business community. It was initially the umbrella organisation for the Institute of Asian Affairs, the German Orient Institute, the Institute of Latin American Affairs and the Institute of African Affairs.
In the first decade of this century the German Overseas Institute underwent a transformation that saw the previously relatively autonomous regional institutes united as the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies/Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien in 2007. Only the German Orient Institute did not take part in the fusion. However, the GIGA had already hired many of its employees. The GIGA collaborates with numerous renowned universities, research institutes and expert associations around the world. It is represented on the boards of various academic networks, particularly those related to Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Since 2014, Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar is the president of the GIGA. Before her, Latin America researcher Prof. Dr. Detlef Nolte has been the acting president (2011-2014). From 2004 to 2011, the Africa expert Prof. Dr. Robert Kappel led the institute as its president. The current board members, in addition to Amrita Narlikar, are Detlef Nolte (GIGA vice president), Middle East academic Prof. Dr. Henner Fürtig, Africa academic Prof. Dr. Andreas Mehler, Asia researcher Prof. Dr. Patrick Köllner, and Head of Finance, Dr. Peter Peetz.
The GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies is an independent social science research institute based in Hamburg, Germany. Our mission is to analyse political, social, and economic developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as global issues. As a member of the Leibniz Association, we are committed to the Leibniz principle of “theoria cum praxi”: science for the benefit of society.