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PRIF Review2023


There were also positive developments. In 2023, our colleagues at the Uppsala Conflict Data Program documented that the number of victims of violent conflicts fell again significantly after three years of rapid growth. However, there is no sign of a trend reversal towards more peace. The number of conflicts themselves remained high and, in particular, the ongoing war in Ukraine and the outbreak of war in Gaza, as a result of the terrorist attacks by Hamas, keep us in suspense.

It was another year in which we tried to better understand a complicated global situation and find possible solutions through our work in dialog with researchers, political actors and interested people of all generations. PRIF colleagues have once again commented on current conflicts and crises in a large number of interviews, discussed them on large and small panels and analyzed them in depth in their publications. This annual review brings all of this together and, we hope, provides a good overview of these diverse activities. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight our podcast, PRIF Talk, which was successfully relaunched last year with a new concept.

After more than two years of intensive war and crisis communication, it was important for us to focus more on basic research again. In the autumn of last year, the Board of Trustees approved a new research program, on which colleagues from all areas of the institute worked intensively for months in an inclusive process. The new research program no longer describes just one research focus for a specific period. Rather, it shows the various research focuses and strategic goals of the institute and is reviewed and renewed in an ongoing process. Please feel free to visit our website, where the program is easy to find.

The questions of European security and peace policy raised by the Russian attack on Ukraine are being addressed in two new projects that began their work at the turn of the year. The first is a LOEWE research group funded by the state of Hesse, which is based at PRIF and Goethe University and deals with the shaping of future peace orders. The second is a cooperation project with the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History, funded by the Leibniz Association, on possible lessons from the Cold War past.

Another topic that has occupied us not only since the start of the war in 2022 is how to deal with autocracies in a world in which the number of democracies is declining. We have set up a research group across the boundaries of the research departments to address the issue of regime competition. Our 2023 annual conference on “Dealing with Autocracies in a Fragmented World” offered the opportunity to exchange ideas with international colleagues on this topic. It also saw much higher attendance than we were used to in the years immediately after the pandemic. The Ernst-Otto Czempiel Award was also presented at the annual conference. Roger Mac Ginty was honored for his book “Everyday Peace: How So-Called Ordinary People Can Disrupt Violent Conflict”.

As you know, we are not only interested in the state of democracy from an international perspective. As part of the anniversary of St. Paul’s Church in Frankfurt and the local Days of Democracy, we have also been involved in transfer projects here in Frankfurt and contributed ideas for renewing democratic life and experience. A project for the exchange of young people from Frankfurt’s seventeen twin cities, which was to culminate in a summit in St. Paul’s Church in 2024, was also anticipated.

The year 2023 was also one of strategic expansion. With the “Cluster for Natural and Technical Science Arms Control Research” funded by the Federal Foreign Office, we added scientific expertise to our disciplinary perspectives. In three new research groups, we are now in a much better position to research new arms technologies and the control of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Finally, the past year was another one of personal successes for PRIF employees. Julian Junk was appointed to a professorship at the Hesse State University of Applied Sciences for Public Management and Security. With Anton Peez, Hande Abay Gaspar, Clara-Auguste Süß and Ben Christian, four of our doctoral students successfully completed their doctorates – and all of them found attractive follow-up positions in research within and outside the institute. We are particularly proud of this.

If there hadn’t been so much going on, we would have written something here about the name change and our new logo. We’ll save that for more peaceful times. But see for yourself on the following pages.

Nicole Deitelhoff und Christopher Daase


  1. Facts and Figures

  2. Arctic and Antarctic Research

    Centering the Polar Regions

    What relevance do the Arctic and Antarctic have for peace and conflict research? Patrick Flamm and Olena Podvorna study these regions.

  3. Radicalization Research at PRIF

    Radicalization in the Online Space

    Radicalization and social cohesion is one of the cross-cutting areas of research at PRIF. A new research alliance examines the role virtual worlds play in this context.

  4. Research Alliance CNTR Starts

    What Does Artificial Intelligence Mean for Arms Control?

    What does Artificial Intelligence Mean for Arms Control? In the CNTR research alliance, an interdisciplinary team is studying the opportunities and risks of new technologies for arms control. A central topic: artificial intelligence.

  5. Postcolonial Politics and Culture of Remembrance

    Coming to Terms with the Past

    How can the colonial past be dealt with through a culture of remembrance? Sabine Mannitz shares her findings from the research project “Evils of a Global Past”.

  6. New LOEWE research group

    World Orders in Conflict

    Nicole Deitelhoff heads a new research group on conflicts over the world order as part of her LOEWE top professorship. In our interview, she explains what constitutes these conflicts and when they become a problem.

  7. New Research Group Organizes PRIF Annual Conference

    Regime Competition – Cold War 2.0?

    What is the truth behind the much-spoken of systemic competition between democracies and autocracies? The new research group “Regime Competition” looks at the new rivalries.

  8. Peace Report

    Peace Report 2023 in Numbers

    How often did the Peace Report 2023 appear in the media? How many institutes are involved? Interesting facts and figures about the Peace Report 2023 “Still a long way from peace”.

  9. Frankfurt Ideas for Peace

    How Can We Talk about This War?

    In the public debate about Israel and Gaza, the fronts seem more hardened than ever. What challenges does this pose for civic education and how can conversations still work? PRIF employees report on the dialog format “Frankfurt Ideas for Peace”.

  10. Matthias Dembinski retires in 2024

    The Skeptic, or, a Bit Hard to Say Goodbye

    Profile: Matthias Dembinski is retiring after thirty years at the institute. Together we reflect on his career and take a cautious look into the future.