From the AGI Bookshelf: Zwischen Koran und Kafka: West-östliche Erkundungen

Jackson Janes

President Emeritus of AGI

Jackson Janes is the President Emeritus of the American-German Institute at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, where he has been affiliated since 1989.

Dr. Janes has been engaged in German-American affairs in numerous capacities over many years. He has studied and taught in German universities in Freiburg, Giessen and Tübingen. He was the Director of the German-American Institute in Tübingen (1977-1980) and then directed the European office of The German Marshall Fund of the United States in Bonn (1980-1985). Before joining AICGS, he served as Director of Program Development at the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh (1986-1988). He was also Chair of the German Speaking Areas in Europe Program at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington, DC, from 1999-2000 and is Honorary President of the International Association for the Study of German Politics .

Dr. Janes is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Atlantic Council of the United States, and American Purpose. He serves on the advisory boards of the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee, and the Beirat der Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik (ZfAS). He serves on the Selection Committee for the Bundeskanzler Fellowships for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Dr. Janes has lectured throughout Europe and the United States and has published extensively on issues dealing with Germany, German-American relations, and transatlantic affairs. In addition to regular commentary given to European and American news radio, he has appeared on CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, PBS, CBC, and is a frequent commentator on German television. Dr. Janes is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Education.

In 2005, Dr. Janes was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Germany’s highest civilian award.

Ph.D., International Relations, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California
M.A., Divinity School, University of Chicago
B.A., Sociology, Colgate University

Transatlantic relations, German-American relations, domestic German politics, German-EU relations, transatlantic affairs.


Those who can build effective bridges between Islam and the West are rare. Navid Kermani is one. He has a unique command of German literature which, combined with his Iranian family background, has allowed him to identify common denominators marking a centuries-old dialogue between Islamic and German-language literature. In his latest book, he explores those links with a review of the work of Goethe, Lessing, Kleist, and Kafka, offering insights about the influence and impact of Islam in Europe. In this framework, one can find new opportunities to build bridges today—despite the increasing tensions in Europe.

Kermani is a well-known writer in Germany and has been awarded multiple prizes for his work. He was invited to speak to the German Bundestag on the anniversary of the German Basic Law in 2014. His book God is Beautiful appeared in English recently. A review can be found here.

Zwischen Koran und Kafka is not available in English yet. But for those who can read German, it is an enjoyable experience.

A report on Kermani appeared on the website of Deutsche Welle and can be found here.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.