Felsberg Institute is currently interested in three main fields; research is done interdisciplinary and is interconnected within a wider framework. Thus our focus on ‘Peace and Conflict’ also aims at studying migration’s root causes and regional backgrounds. In order to support refugees and their efforts to integrate in a new host country after arrival, we consider such knowledge crucial.

Consequently our second field of interest is the nexus of ‘Migration, Education, and Integration’, focusing especially on integration of unaccompanied minors (UM) into the host country’s educational system. As our research aims at both, comparison and depth, we pursue a comparative approach on the one hand and a regional specialization on the other. Therefore our third field of interest focuses on the Horn of Africa.

In publications and working papers we present our work and our interests in detail.



Peace and Conflict Studies


In the field of ‚Peace and Conflict Studies‘ Hartmut Quehl studies selected revolutionary struggles against dictatorship and for national self-determination after WWII on a global scale (‘Comparative social history of liberation wars after WWII’). This originally historic study is based on cross-time and cross-culture comparison and such attempts a comparative history of conflict in the global margins of the late 20th century beyond regional differences.

Examples (especially Nicaragua, Iraqi Kurdistan and Eritrea) encompass a period of more than 50 years and wars of different duration and intensity. These wars took place on three different continents within different cultural contexts. Space and time serve as parameters to analyse specific constellations of locally different processes and specific components that allow universal conclusions beyond the individual example.

Oral-History projects focus on the life of combatants in periods of war and thereafter: How do people and societies change while getting involved into combat and which kinds of transformation do peace and consolidation processes bring along? What happens to countries when victorious liberation fronts take over after long years of war?

The research project ‘Comparative social history of liberation wars after WWII’ is part of interdisciplinary and international networks of academic research and debate.


Since already 2008 Felsberg Institute (FI) is engaged in Iraq. Since 2010 FI maintains offices in Erbil and Bagdad. Also in 2010 FI started a conference program together with Kirkuk University that addresses various aspects and dimensions of violence in Iraq. The conference program aims at connecting civil society’s representatives and institutions with academic debate, thus creating a forum for broad social dialogue. Since 2012 these conferences are organized on an international level:  Iraq’s First International Conference on Violence took place in Kirkuk in April 2012; 2013 the Second Conference was organized in Germany and in December 2013 a Third Conference took place in Erbil. Conferences integrated local scholars and included workshops for local students. All three events were supported and co-financed by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile these jointly organized conferences on Iraq have become routine and initiated a broad national and international academic debate on violence in Iraq.

Subsequently the “International Consortium for Research on Violence” (ICRoV) was founded in Erbil/ Iraq in December 2013. ICRoV encompasses renowned academic institutions and individual scholars from various countries, disciplines and academic traditions and allows mutual exchange and debate. To enable both global comparison and insight into the study of regional conflict Felsberg Institute and the Universidad del Rosario jointly organized an international and interdisciplinary conference on “Realistic Peace and Turbulent Transitions“ in Bogotá/Colombia in May 2014.

Meanwhile a comparative research project on urban violence in Iraq and Colombia has been established, which connects the cities of Kirkuk and Barranca and thus contributes to academic South-South globalization. FI’s cooperation partners are Kirkuk University and Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá.


 Head and contact person:  Dr. Hartmut Quehl

FI Latin America Representative: Paula Timcke (Dipl.-Soz.)





Research on Migration, Education, and Integration


Our research on migration, education, and integration addresses migration after arrival in Germany and Europe and considers language training and education as crucial for successful integration. Especially young migrants and refugees – often unaccompanied minors (UM) – risk to fail in their efforts to build up their own existence, if there is no or not sufficient language training and extraordinary support at school.

Aiming at a better understanding of refugees‘ and migrants’ situation and needs this research focus profits from FI’s expertise in conflict and regional studies as well as from the broad range of concerned subjects, including political science, law, sociology, psychology, history and anthropology. Furthermore inter- and transdisciplinary research on the nexus of migration, education, and integration at Felsberg Institute seeks to elaborate practical recommendations and application. In this sense Mirjam Wolfstein critically assesses means of integration through language training and education in Germany and Europe in her dissertation project, and Rita Horvay studies upcoming public costs due to poor assistance and lack of means within Germany’s educational system.

In Felsberg in August 2014 our symposium ‘Between Trauma and Integration: Unaccompanied Minors under Duress’ summed up current analyses and need for action. The symposium brought experts from various academic disciplines and different segments of professional praxis together – from social work, education, psychotherapy, law, sociology, history as well as from anthropology – and provided interdisciplinary dialogue and exchange. Further cooperation in the field of assisting unaccompanied minors is sought.


Head and contact person: Mirjam Wolfstein MA



Regional Focus: Horn of Africa


The Horn of Africa has been selected as regional focus within FI’s research concept – not least because of its complex history of war, conflict and migration. Therefore this region provides an essential field for research on peace and conflict, political transition and migration and allows inter- and multidisciplinary debate and collaboration. Furthermore a regional focus offers exemplary in-depth-knowledge and allows the transfer of empirically based questions and findings into other regional contexts.

While Felsberg Institute here seeks to bundle up interests and deepen its academic expertise, the Horn of Africa also mirrors – more than any other global region – FI’s approach to understand migration to Germany and Europe in the context of its origins. We are especially interested in Eritrea’s ongoing tragedy: The small country at the shores of the Red Sea won formal independence only in 1993 after three decades of war. Once, it was considered a rising star in Africa, before it fell back into war and conflict with neighboring states; the border war with Ethiopia 1998-2000 proved particularly devastating. Furthermore Eritrea has again become a country of mass emigration. While refugees and migrants from Eritrea die in high numbers in the Sahara and in the Mediterranean Sea or are kidnapped and killed by bandits on the Sinai, they also arrive as asylum-seekers and unaccompanied minors to Europe and Germany.

Our regional focus on the Horn of Africa is lead by Hartmut Quehl, historian, and Magnus Treiber, anthropologist, who wrote their doctoral thesis on the history of the Eritrean liberation struggle and the daily life of young urbanites in Asmara respectively. Mussie Tesfagiorgis (University of Winnipeg/Canada) published his doctoral thesis, a regional history of war and ecological devastation (‘A fading nature’ 2007) in FI’s ‘edition eins’, and Daniel R. Mekonnen (International Law and Policy Institute, Oslo/Norway) was 2012 Humboldt-fellow at the Felsberg Institute.

Concerning political transition in Eritrea two workshops have already been held in Felsberg in 2010 and 2014 and two panels were organized during the 'European Conference on African Studies’ (ECAS) in Uppsala/Sweden in 2011. An edited volume (Tesfagiorgis & Mekonnen 2013) and a working paper (Treiber 2014) have recently been published. Currently an Eritrea-archive is established in Felsberg.



Contact person: Dr. Magnus Treiber