Press Releases

Press Release, 04/18/2018

Gerda Henkel Foundation adds over 50 new projects to its funding programme
Dr. Carolin Emcke joins the Foundation’s Board of Trustees | Prof. Birgit Emich appointed to Academic Advisory Council

The Gerda Henkel Foundation supports more than 50 new research projects worldwide. The Foundation’s committees approved funding amounting to almost 5 million euros at its spring meeting this year. In further key decisions, author and publicist Dr. Carolin Emcke was appointed to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Moreover, the Board’s members appointed historian Prof. Birgit Emich to the Foundation’s Academic Advisory Council. The Gerda Henkel Foundation also publishes its 2017 Annual Report. Last year, the Foundation made more than 15.3 million euros available to support academic projects.

Dr. Carolin Emcke, born in 1967, studied Philosophy, Politics and History in London, Frankfurt/Main and Harvard and wrote her PhD thesis on the concept of “collective identities”. From 1998 until 2006 she was a permanent editor at “Spiegel” magazine and travelled to numerous crisis regions as foreign correspondent (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kosovo, Iraq, Columbia and Lebanon, among others). From 2007 until 2014 she worked for newspaper “Die Zeit” as author and international reporter (e.g. in Israel, the West Bank, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq and the USA). She is a columnist for the weekend edition of “Süddeutsche Zeitung” newspaper. Her most recently published books include “Gegen den Hass” (2016), “Weil es sagbar ist - Zeugenschaft und Gerechtigkeit” (2013) and “Wie wir begehren” (2012). Dr. Carolin Emcke has received numerous awards, including in 2014 the “Johann Heinrich Merck Prize” from the German Academy for Language and Literature, in 2015 the “Lessing Prize” from the Free State of Saxony, and in 2016 the “Peace Prize of the German Book Trade” from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.

Prof. Birgit Emich, also born in 1967, studied History and Political Sciences in Freiburg. After completing her doctorate in 1999 and habilitation (post-doctoral thesis) in 2002, she received the Heisenberg Fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG). She held Interim Chairs in Freiburg, Muenster and Dresden and a guest professorship at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt. She was Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Muenster before moving, in 2010, to the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, where she held the Chair of Early Modern History. Since 2017 Prof. Birgit Emich has been researching and teaching at Goethe University Frankfurt as the Chair of Early Modern History. She is, among other things, co-spokesperson for the Frankfurt Humanities Research Centre and Elected Member of the Review Board 102 History of the German Research Foundation and of the Board of the working group “Early Modern Period” in the Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands. On the Gerda Henkel Foundation’s Academic Advisory Council Prof. Emich will succeed Prof. Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger (Muenster), whose eight-year term has come to an end according to schedule.

The current Annual Report 2017 provides information on the Gerda Henkel Foundation’s on-going programmes and presents selected research projects that were either newly added to the funding schedule or completed last year ( The Gerda Henkel Foundation once again succeeded in slightly boosting market-value assets – from 862.8 million euros as of year-end 2016 to 866.8 million euros as of 31 December 2017 (an increase of 2.1%). With total funding of over 15.3 million euros made available for research projects, the Foundation succeeded in continuing the positive development of recent years (2016: 16.6 million euros; 2015: almost 12 million euros).

The Gerda Henkel Foundation was established in June 1976 by Lisa Maskell in memory of her mother Gerda Henkel as an incorporated foundation under civil law, headquartered in Düsseldorf. The Gerda Henkel Foundation concentrates its support on the historical humanities. In several programmes the Foundation furthermore addresses issues of great relevance to contemporary life and the future, above all as part of its special programmes “Islam, the Modern Nation State and Transnational Movements” and “Security, Society and the State”. As part of the Lisa Maskell Fellowship programme, the Foundation supports young scholars in the humanities in both Africa and Southeast Asia. With its “Patrimonies” funding initiative it promotes the preservation of cultural heritage, specifically in regions experiencing crisis. In connection with funded projects, the Foundation also supports social and humanitarian measures as part of complementary projects. The Gerda Henkel Foundation is able to fulfill its purposes in and outside Germany.

Gerda Henkel Foundation Press Office
Dr. Sybille Wüstemann
Tel.: +49 211 93 65 24 19
Fax: +49 211 93 65 24 44