Research Projects

Relocated Russian culture: The case of the South Caucasus

(Armenia and Georgia)

This research is dedicated to an analysis of the process and consequences of the migration of artists and cultural workers from Russia to the countries of the South Caucasus after the start of the Russian war against Ukraine in 2022. We examine which cultural actors and institutions migrated to the South Caucasus, how this changes the local cultural scene and what challenges and opportunities arise as a result.

Tigran Amiryan

Tigran Amiryan is the founder and president of the Cultural & Social Narratives Laboratory. He holds a PhD in World Literature and is semiologist, and contemporary culture researcher. Dr Amiryan has authored numerous articles on postmodern literature, interdisciplinary analysis, comparative analytics, sociology of literature. His main interest revolves around the issue of narrativization of both individual and collective memory in contemporary culture, as well as urban memory, and migration and memory.

Climate Crisis in the Mediterranean

The Role of religious Actors in International Cooperation

Religions, as the largest transnational civil society institutions, offer immense potential for raising ecological awareness and shaping regional and international climate discourses. What role do religious actors play in international negotiations? What role does interreligious cooperation play in this? How can religious actors be involved in advancing climate policy? Within the framework of this research project, these are examined on the basis of the effects of climate change in the Mediterranean region.

Elisabeth Naurath

Dr. Elisabeth Naurath (ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran confession) is a professor for religious education at the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences at the University of Augsburg/Germany. The chair´s profile is interreligious learning as peace education. Prof. Naurath was elected as chair of the international peace organization ‘Religions for Peace Germany’ in 2021, Vice-President of European National Interreligious Bodies (ENIB) of Religions for Peace Europe, and Board Member of Religions for Peace Europe in 2022. She has initiated project groups on the topic of 'Religions and Environmental care' as a question for security and peace on both levels.

Potentials of Cultural Data for Foreign Cultural Policy

From impact Measurement to Foresight

The project addresses a range of questions related to the uses of data and data analysis for Foreign Cultural Policy. It focuses on the use of data analytics for foresight, how data can assist with improved decision making, the integration of data, and the measurement of impact. It draws on written sources and interviews with practitioners and academics to identify insights and propose recommendations.

Stuart MacDonald

Stuart MacDonald Stuart is Founding Director of ICR Research Ltd, the UK’s leading research organisation in international cultural policy. He is an experienced policymaker in cultural and educational policy, and consultant, with experience of bridging between theory and practice, working for clients including Cultural Institutes, the UK, Japanese, and Scottish Governments, and universities in Germany and the UK. He is an Associate of the Edinburgh Futures Institute, and has a number of other academic affiliations.

China’s Cultural Diplomacy in Latin America in Times of Hegemonic Transition

This project examines the objectives and strategies that explain the deployment of the People’s Republic of China cultural diplomacy in the framework of the current world order’s hegemonic transition and in the Latin American context. It also seeks to systematize the most relevant actors, channels, and means through which cultural exchanges are implemented in the region, analyze Latin America’s reception, and identify the most salient examples of China-Latin America cultural initiatives since the turn of the 21st century.         

Ximena Zapata

Ximena Zapata is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Hamburg and the GIGA Institute, Germany. She holds a master’s degree in International Relations from FLACSO-Ecuador. Her research lines include China-Latin America relations, regionalism, foreign policy, and international cooperation in Latin America.

Preventive Measures to Curb Extremism within the Framework of External Cultural Policy

Cultural and educational policy is often the only way to prevent extremism. Especially in times of increasing and more diverse sources of extremist ideologies, culturally sensitive, innovative measures are needed to reach people in many countries. Our knowledge about existing measures, best practices and potential new paths to be discovered is still very limited. The project aims to create new insights.

Asiem El Difraoui

Dr Asiem El Difraoui is a political scientist and author of books and documentaries. His areas of expertise include prevention and deradicalisation issues. In 2019, he was head of a project for the BAMF to develop a qualification course and a non-fiction book on exit work from Islamic extremism. In 2021, his book "Die Hydra des Dschihadismus" was published by Suhrkamp. He is co-founder of the CANDID Foundation in Berlin and co-editor of Zenith magazine.

Gaming and Metaverses as Global Public Spheres and Arenas in System Competition

Opportunities and Risks for Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy

Manouchehr Shamsrizi explores how video games impact societies in the short, medium and long term. Video games and metaverses are the first cultural techniques and cultural goods of the 21st century that are fully digital, global and transmedial. Shamsrizi works for this in a transfer-oriented way with an interdisciplinary team.

Manouchehr Shamsrizi

Manouchehr Shamsrizi, M.P.P. FRSA “is among the most publicly prominent voices of Germany’s younger generation” (Washington Post) and “well positioned to assess emerging trends” (Monocle). He is Co-Founder of the at Humboldt-University’s Cluster of Excellence and Head of Humboldt-Innovation's Group for Gaming in International Relations; former Global Justice Fellow at Yale University, Ariane de Rothschild Fellow at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of the German Council on Foreign Relations. He has been an advisor to the German Federal Foreign Office since 2018.

Deconstructing Climate Colonial Governance

The Brazilian Amazon Case  

The project seeks to analyse the global climate governance towards the Brazilian Amazon Region through post and decolonial perspectives and to examine the German Climate Foreign Policy towards the Brazilian Amazon Region through post and decolonial perspectives.

Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco

Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco is a Brazilian percussionist and consultant working across the cultural, creative and development sectors. Holding an MA in International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy from Furtwangen University, Germany, Pedro’s areas of expertise include culture and sustainable development as well as the role of creative clusters in local development and participatory governance in culture.

Marina Caetano

Marina Caetano is an experienced international cooperation professional involved in projects especially within the environmental and climate agenda. She investigated the role of the German International Cooperation for Development as part of the German Chancellor Fellowship, previously worked for Instituto Talanoa and Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Marina holds a Master in Sustainable Development and a Bachelor in International Relations.

Subject Repositories Decolonial

Open Access for Academic Documents on International Cultural Relations

Repositories that offer Open Access to specialist articles are mostly built in the "Global North". How can these digital libraries meet the requirements to satisfy global diversity? The project looks for the "flaws in the system": typical governance structures, technical infrastructures as well as collection guidelines and content indexing standards.

Nora Schmidt

Nora Schmidt, PhD, has been working for social justice in academic publishing for more than 10 years, in research and practice. Since February 2022, she has been coordinating GenderOpen, the open access subject repository for gender studies, a project of the Berlin University Alliance.


External Cultural Policy (ECP)-Monitor. Profiling External Cultural Policy

Approach and Methodology

A prototype of the ECP Monitor was developed during a pilot phase for a first set of countries. Based on these initial studies and feedback received from users and experts, the Monitor will be revised and further refined in the future. Once fully developed, the ECP Monitor will cover all EU, OECD and G20 countries, and be updated regularly.

Country Reports in the ECP-Monitor

Germany's Soft Power 2030: Scenarios for an Unsettled World

New study in the context of the ECP-Monitor

The future of German foreign policy examined against four possible scenarios: Sino-American rapprochement, Cold War 2.0, acrimonious de-globalisation, regressive globalisation. Analysis and recommendations.

Germany’s Soft Power 2030

Germany`s Soft Power 2030  – Executive Summary

Panel Discussion (Video)

Comparative Reports in the ECP-Monitor

Arts and Cultural Institutes 

International cultural institutes are the visible signs of a country that wants to make its culture accessible to an audience abroad. Some countries are developing a more commercialised orientation in their cultural policies.
Arts and Cultural Institutes (PDF)


Competition in the global media has increased considerably. Foreign media not only want to reach important target groups, they also see themselves as competitors in the quest for international sovereignty.
Media (PDF)

Science Diplomacy

The risks and interdependencies associated with globalisation have made shared scientific progress even more important. However, science diplomacy often follows unequal global power dynamics.
Science Diplomacy (PDF)

Primary and Secondary Education

Few countries have fully realised the strategic potential of primary and secondary education abroad. Countries wishing to exert a global cultural influence would do well to take this into account.
Primary and Secondary Education (PDF)

Higher Education

International higher education has become central to the foreign cultural policy strategies of many countries. Despite growth in the global South, it is dominated by Western and former colonial powers. 
Higher Education (PDF)

Digital External Cultural Policy

Through digitisation, culture can spread around the world and bring new actors into the conversation. Fragmented publics on social media compete with local projects.
Digital External Cultural Policy (PDF)


Promoting the national language is central to a country's image abroad. It is likely that many major powers will combine language policy and foreign policy in the coming years.
Language (PDF)

Research Programmes and Network

Why is Research Important?

Research Programmes

In the research programme "Culture and Foreign Policy" and the programme line "Research" of the Martin Roth Initiative, experts investigate current issues of foreign cultural and educational policy. The research programmes set topics and develop recommendations to strengthen and further develop international cultural relations. The research assignments are accompanied by conferences and workshops. The research results are published in the ifa edition Culture and Foreign Policy, as ifa-Input or as Policy Brief.
Find out more on the ifa website:
Research Programme "Culture and Foreign Policy"
Research Programme of the Martin Roth Initiative

ICRRA – International Cultural Relations Research Alliance

Researchers and practitioners exchange views on questions of international cultural relations through the International Cultural Relations Research Alliance (ICRRA) network. The network sees itself as a bridge builder between practical cultural work, academic reflection, policy advice and the media. It supports the transfer of research-based knowledge into politics and society and promotes evidence-based discourse. Find out more on the ifa website.


Sarah Widmaier

Scientific Coordinator of ifa’s Research Programme on Culture and Foreign Policy

Charlottenplatz 17
D-70173 Stuttgart

Telephone: +49.711.2225.214

Yannick Ringot

Project Coordinator Dialogue and Research Culture and Foreign Policy

Charlottenplatz 17
D-70173 Stuttgart

Telephone: +49.711.2225.123