The ZIAF Office

Managing Director

Prof. Dr. Mamadou Diawara

Prof. Dr. Mamadou Diawara is Professor for ethnology and deputy director of the Frobenius Institute. He is also Director of Point Sud, a research center on local knowledge in Bamako, Mali and Principal Investigator of the Excellence Cluster "The Formation of Normative Orders" and the BMBF project AFRASO. His thematic focus is developmental ethnology, oral history / oral traditions in the media era, globalization and the history of Africa. His regional focus is on West Africa, especially Mali.

Deputy Managing Director


Prof. Dr. Jürgen Runge

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Runge is Professor for Physical Geography and Geoecology at Goethe University. In 2003 ZIAF was established under his leadership. His expertise is in quaternary ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa (climate change and biodiversity). Applied questions are dedicated to land usage, infrastructure, sustainability of resources, and transparency in the raw materials sector. From 2007-2010 he directed a multinational venture for good governance in the Central African Republic on behalf of GIZ. Prof. Runge maintains cooperation links with several African Universities



Dr. Stefan Schmid

Dr. Stefan Schmid manages the ZIAF Office and supports members of the humanities and social sciences within the ZIAF network. He is a geographer with a focus on remote sensing and development cooperation. He organises international conferences, summer schools, and exhibitions in Germany and Africa, and is coordinator of the AFRASO project and the scholarship programme of the Volkswagen Foundation. At ZIAF, he also maintains contact with development cooperation organisations.


Dr. Karen Hahn

Dr. Karen Hahn coordinates and supports natural science research within ZIAF. She works as a biologist at the Institute for Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity; focusing on ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem services. In 1996, she obtained her PhD on Savannah vegetation in Western Africa. For many years now, she has coordinated interdisciplinary research projects in Western Africa, cooperating with Universities in Burkina Faso and Benin.