Press Releases

Press Release, 06/28/2018

Research Projects on Democracy and Lost Cities Sought

Gerda Henkel Foundation announces new funding programmes

The Gerda Henkel Foundation has launched two new international funding programmes. With its "Democracy as Utopia, Experience and Threat” initiative the Foundation is responding to recent experiences that democracy is not a given. The rule of law, the separation of powers, freedom of opinion, and a commitment to the common good have been relativized and limited. Funding is offered to research scholars who wish to investigate the social order from ancient times until today.

The second funding programme is on shrinking and entirely abandoned cities, so-called Lost Cities. Current transformation processes in various parts of the world mean that many of these Lost Cities are emerging. Nevertheless, the phenomenon is not a new one and has been a widespread hallmark of urban history since the emergence of urban culture. The initiative "Lost Cities. Perception of and living with abandoned cities in the cultures of the world” invites research scholars to conduct projects on the multifaceted dimensions of Lost Cities. The deadline for submissions for both programmes is 31 October 2018.

“The historically and culturally divergent and variable views of abandoned places, like the different perspectives on democracy as a social order, spawn any number of highly promising research angles,” comments Dr Angela Kühnen, Member of the Executive Board of the Gerda Henkel Foundation. “These funding programmes are destined to place two very acute problems in a broader historical context.” Both funding programmes are designed to be interdisciplinary and address post-doctoral researchers based at a university and working in the area of the humanities and social sciences. It is also envisaged for the project partners to participate once a year in a public workshop discussion organized by the Foundation. For further information please visit and

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
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