Prof. Dr. Udo Steinbach

Prof. Dr. Udo Steinbach is co-founder and shareholder of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform. Prof. Steinbach heads the MENA Study Centre at the Maecenata Foundation.

Since 1971, Dr. Udo Steinbach has worked scientifically with the contemporary Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. He has also advised Parliament and the government on current political, economic, cultural and religious issues in these regions. In the years of his work as Director of the German Orient Institute in Hamburg (1976-2007) he was actively involved in political dialogue projects of the German Federal Government, including the Euro-Arab Dialogue and the Human Rights Dialogue with political, academic and religious representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was also a founding member of the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient (DAVO). Since 1991 he is honorary professor at the University of Hamburg.

Udo Steinbach studied Oriental Studies (history and culture of the Arabic, Persian and Turkish-speaking peoples of the Near East) and Classical Philology in Freiburg and in Basel. He earned his doctorate in 1970 with a work on the history of literature (“Dhat al-Himma: Cultural Studies on an Arab People’s Movement”). With the appointment as Head of the Department Middle and Middle East, established since 1971 at the Foundation for Science and Politics (Ebenhausen near Munich, today Berlin), he has turned his attention to the history of the Middle East region. After a journalistic interlude as head of the Turkish editorial department at Deutsche Welle (1975, then Cologne), he was director of the German Orient Institute in Hamburg since 1976. In this function, he strongly contributed to transporting the research results into the public with the help of the media. With the end of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 90s, he opened the institute up for scientific inquiry into the developments in their Muslim parts. Towards the end of the 90s the focus was also on the developments in the Islamic communities in Germany and Europe.

As director of the German Orient Institute he was editor of the scientific journal “Orient” as well as the “Mitteilungen” and “Schriften der Deutschen Orient-Institut”. He is also the author and editor of numerous publications on the politics, society and culture of the Middle Eastern, Caucasian and Central Asian countries. These include standard works such as the book “Der Islam in der Gegenwart” (“Islam in the Present”, edited in five editions by Werner Ende) and “The Arab World in the 20th Century. Departure – upheaval – perspectives “(2016).

After retirement, he worked on the establishment of the Center for Middle and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Marburg between 2007 and 2010. He is still a member of numerous committees of science, science policy and science promotion with a focus on the regions mentioned.

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