HIIK mourns the death of honorary patron Prof. Dr. Frank R. Pfetsch

The HIIK mourns the death of Prof. Dr. Frank R. Pfetsch.
30 years ago, he instigated the formation of the HIIK through his interest and enthusiasm for international conflict research. After his retirement, he remained closely connected to us and our work as an honorary patron. We will honour his memory and continue the work in the same spirit

Conflict Barometer 2020 Launch on March 25

The HIIK is happy to announce the launch of the latest Conflict Barometer as well as the associated Conflicts 2020 data set. With the 29th edition of the Conflict Barometer, the HIIK continues its annual series of reports covering political conflict dynamics and developments worldwide.
We invite all contributors, members of the press, and everyone interested to our online launch event on March 25 at 11 am. Even though we would have loved to present to you our key data and conflict developments as in previous years in Heidelberg, we’re looking forward to see you online! Please register here in order to receive the link for the online event.

Note: The event will be held in English. 

Renaming of the “MENA” working group

The HIIK would like to announce the renaming of the regional working group “Middle East and North Africa (MENA)” to “West Asia, North Africa and Afghanistan (WANA)”. The new name follows the latest scientific practice and ensures that the geographical naming of all five regions is more uniform. Moreover, we think it is more politically neutral. None of the countries’ or conflicts’ allocation have been shifted so that they remain comparable over the years.

Two Regional Group Leaders for Europe/Asia wanted!

The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research is looking for two new regional group leaders (RGL) in the working groups Europe and Asia.
Conflicts are assigned to one of five regional groups in which a total of over 200 conflict researchers work. The conflict regions are Asia, the Middle East & Maghreb, the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Europe. The conflicts are observed over a period of one year. The observation includes all measures that fall within the framing of the specific conflict. At the end of the year, we generate an annual intensity through the measures taken. Our main outlet, the annual Conflict Barometer, is thus created from the collected data. Regional heads take up the responsibility for around 8 – 25 conflicts in their respective region and support their team members with their research and text production.
While every year we are welcoming lots of new members in the HIIK, some members are leaving the HIIK or are taking over new positions. Furthermore, our institute offers the possibility to take over responsibility quickly and engage within the Institute in different positions.
Thus, we are looking for 2 new heads of working group (RGL) in the regional working groups Europe and Asia on a voluntary basis:
One RGL for the Caucasus region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh)
● One RGL for Southeast Asia (Japan, Philippines, North/South Korea, Fiji, Indonesia)
Here are shortly the most important tasks:
The tasks include:
● team coordination and academic and personal responsibility for the concerned conflicts;
● production and correction of the conflict texts and database maintenance;
● department activities (communication, methodology etc.);
● compilation of major events and incidents in the region;
● active participation in the summer editorial round and the pre-editorial in December;
● active participation in the final editorial rounds in January;
● completion of tasks related to the Conflict Barometer in February and March;
● attendance of internal conferences;
● support of fellow RGL.
Profile of requirements:
Ideally, you study a relevant subject (e.g. political science, regional studies, conflict studies, ethnology, law) in your third semester or higher. You should have profound knowledge of the given region;  Language skills are profitable. Interested? As always in the HIIK, due to the very flexible working rhythm, it is hard to say how much time to invest in this position. On average, probably about two to four hours weekly. The months between November and January are the most time-consuming and thus, commitment should be highest then. Please note that we are a student-based voluntary organization and therefore look out mostly for other ambitious and responsible students. As an association, we charge a small annual membership fee (15€ students/30€ non-students).
We are happy about everyone who is interested, and you are free to ask any questions regarding the mentioned tasks, amount, etc. – don’t hesitate to contact us. Just send an Email to vorstand@hiik.de (Board of Directors) with a short motivational letter and your CV until August 10.

Report about the recent global conflict developments

358 conflicts worldwide – the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research publishes the Conflict Barometer 2019

The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) presents the 28th edition of its annual world report: the Conflict Barometer 2019. The Conflict Barometer contains in-depth analysis of political conflict dynamics worldwide, including violent as well as non-violent conflicts. According to the HIIK methodology, violent conflicts are differentiated according to their intensity into violent crises (3), limited wars (4) and wars (5). A further distinction is made between non-violent crises (2) and disputes (1). The intensity is composed of the observed conflict means (personnel, use of weapons) and the conflict consequences (casualties, refugees, destruction). The Heidelberg methodology makes political conflicts globally comparable. The report is completed by conflict maps and graphs as well as accounts of conflict resolution. Moreover, spotlight articles analyse specific conflict dimensions and their influence on political realities.

In 2019, HIIK observed a total of 358 conflicts worldwide. While 162 conflicts were non-violent, 196 were fought violently. Compared to 2018, the overall number of full-scale wars decreased slightly from 16 to 15. Of these, the drug trafficking conflict in Brazil, two intrastate conflicts in the DR Congo, as well as the conflict spurred by Islamist groups in the Sahel zone escalated to wars. While eleven wars continued, five wars de-escalated to either limited wars or violent crises. In total, 23 limited wars were observed worldwide. The observation of four conflicts was ended either due to active settlement by the conflict parties or two-year-long inactivity. The HIIK classifies and defines political conflicts among others according to conflict types, conflict actors and conflict items. While the most common conflict type is the intrastate conflict, the most frequent conflict item is the debate about the political or ideological orientation of the political system.

The Middle East and Maghreb remained the region with the highest number of full-scale wars, taking place in Syria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, and Afghanistan. Yet, Syria’s inter-opposition conflict de-escalated to a limited war. In particular, the newly flared up opposition conflicts in the region, such as in Iraq and Iran, were in the focus of worldwide media attention. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of wars as well as limited wars decreased slightly. Besides the two wars in the DR Congo and the transstate conflict in the Sahel zone, the two wars involving Islamist Boko Haram factions in Nigeria and al-Shabaab in Somalia continued. Two wars were fought in the Americas. Alongside the drug trafficking conflict in Brazil, fighting between drug cartels, vigilante groups, and the government in Mexico continued. Moreover, three limited wars took place, comprising inter-cartel violence in Mexico and another two conflicts in Colombia. The opposition conflict in Nicaragua, however, de-escalated to a violent crisis. For the second consecutive year, no war was observed in Asia and Oceania, while the number of limited wars decreased from seven to five. Tensions between India and Pakistan continued when in February the first air strikes were conducted since 1971. Two limited wars in the Philippines continued, while the conflict between the Arakan Army and the government in Rakhine State in Myanmar and the Papuan independence conflict in Indonesia escalated to limited wars. In Europe, no war was observed, whereas the limited war in the Donbas region in Ukraine continued.

In the Spotlight Texts section, guest authors and members of the institute analyze further conflict aspects. For example, while Kerstin Zettl elaborates on the role of cyber attacks in 2019, Alexey Yusupov examines the effects of international sanctions on Myanmar’s minority policy.

Due to the general risk situation of the Covid19 virus and due to our responsibility towards our members and invited guests, the originally planned press conference at Heidelberg University did not take place. Instead, our regional experts are available for questions and short interviews.

Founded in 1990, the HIIK celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Since then, the institute has dedicated itself to researching and documenting intra-, inter-, trans- and substate conflicts worldwide. More than 200 young researchers work at HIIK on a voluntary basis. The HIIK presents its research results in the annual conflict barometer, which is open access and can be downloaded at www.hiik.de.

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Cancellation of the publication event Conflict Barometer 2019 on Friday, March 13 2020

Dear representatives of the press, members, conflict researchers and interested persons,
due to increasing risk warnings about the spread of Covid-19 in Germany, the University of Heidelberg and the CATS will remain closed until April 19 and events have been canceled. Accordingly, tomorrow’s event on the publication of the Conflict Barometer 2019 in the Center for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) in Heidelberg will not take place.

The good news: the publication of the 2019 Conflict Barometer remains unaffected. The document and the data set will be available for download from our website (www.hiik.de) tomorrow at 12 noon. We are available for press inquiries or telephone interviews. Please contact vorstand@hiik.de.

We are very sorry for the short-term cancellation and the fact that the conflict barometer 2019 will not initially be presented in a personal exchange with the public and our researchers. We would like to thank the speakers and invited guests for their interest in the 2019 Conflict Barometer and for the understanding they have shown in this situation.

In order to catch up on the knowledge about global conflict patterns and intensities in 2019 and at the same time to celebrate the institute’s 30th anniversary, the HIIK plans to hold another event in the second half of the year. More information will follow.

Board of the HIIK Marit Braunschweig, Ruben Ilyas, Michael Hebeisen, Mayely Müller, Ronja Gottschling, Anna Feiereisen

Announcement: Publication of the Conflict Barometer 2019

The HIIK will present the 28th edition of the annual world report Conflict Barometer 2019 on 13 March 2020. The Conflict Barometer contains exhaustive qualitative descriptions of political conflict dynamics worldwide, including violent as well as non-violent conflicts. The violent conflicts are differentiated between violent crises, limited wars or wars. Indicators on conflict means and consequences are used in order to assign an intensity to a particular conflict. The assignment of intensity and HIIK’s annual analysis make conflict dynamics traceable over time. The report is completed by conflict maps and graphs as well as accounts of conflict resolution. Furthermore, spotlight texts present additional information on certain conflicts and their influence on political realities. More information regarding the publication will be given here soon.

Team building weekend

For the second consecutive year, HIIK members came together for a team building weekend in Heidelberg. Part of the weekend was the tracking of working procedures towards the annual publication of the ConflictBarometer. The aim here was to strengthen cooperation within the institute on the different levels. Also, the members worked on opportunities for improvement at the numerous parts which lead to the publication of the Conflict Barometer and its respective data sets. Another part of the weekend included the work of the different departments. As the board of directors introduced the department Data Management in the course of this years, the internal communication between the six departments are crucial. Moreover, methodological questions and dealing with the data base CONTRA were subjects of discussion. We are pleased that we could develop our ideas and thoughts with many members and look forward for the upcoming publishing process of the Conflict Barometer 2019!

ZDF interview

Jason Franz, a dedicated HIIK researcher for years, gave the German national news outlet ZDF heute an interview in which he explained backgrounds and methods of current protests around the globe – and why Fridays for Future Deutschland might assert their demands.

Learn more: https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute/hongkong-chile-libanon-weltweite-proteste-interview-protestforscher-jason-franz-heidelberger-institut-fuer-internationale-konfliktforschung-100.html?fbclid=IwAR0ljZhjB_7wTsrvTrzERg4T6Hj4how2ApZHAIoXPIRSOWkwAg6WCZ9tlxs

Cooperation partners’ visit

In June 2019, HIIK had the honour to welcome representatives of the Africa Union, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), the GIZ and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ecpdm) at the Bergheim Campus in Heidelberg. Both AU and IPSS use modified HIIK data for policy advice within the African Union, i.e. for the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS) and the annually published Impact Report on the African Union‘s Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). During our meeting we discussed different perspectives on conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as the use of HIIK intensities as a dependent variable. We would like to thank our colleagues from Addis and are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation in the future!