Martin Leiner

Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

Martin Leiner is Professor for Protestant Theology and Ethics at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena. He has previously held positions at the University of Mainz and the University of Neuchâtel. Since 2008, he has focused on transdisciplinary research on reconciliation processes worldwide. This includes historical examples such as German-French reconciliation after World War II to current challenges such as reparations for human rights violations and injustices in former colonies, reconciliation and refugees, or reconciliation in conflicts about heritage. Reconciliation Studies are a new, creative academic field where definitions, research methods, and ground-breaking theories still are very much in the making. After a series of summer schools, Dr. Leiner won a Deutsch Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) grant for the research on “Encountering the suffering of the other” in Israeli and Palestinian contexts. This grant also established the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies (JCRS) with two PhD programs and twenty PhD students. Dr. Leiner is the founding president of the International Association for Reconciliation Studies (IARS), which was established in 2020. Dr. Leiner has published on reconciliation theory and on practical experiences in countries such as Colombia, Congo, East Asia, Germany, Israel/Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, and South Africa. He is the editor of the series Research in Peace and Reconciliation (RIPAR) and published books and articles in various fields of theology.

At AGI, Dr. Leiner will research the Black Lives Matter movement and the challenges of reconciliation between African Americans and white Americans. He will conduct a series of expert interviews and focus on confessions of guilt and acts of forgiveness in religious and political contexts. He will compare U.S. approaches to confessions of guilt and forgiveness to approaches in Germany. His hypothesis is that in the United States, the initiative for a process of reconciliation is much more on the side of the victims than in Germany, where confessions of guilt have a certain tradition since the end of World War II. Dr. Leiner expects to find a potential for mutual inspiration and to deliver one of the first scientific descriptions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC) organized by Black Americans across the country.

The DAAD/AGI Research Fellowship is supported by the DAAD with funds from the Federal Foreign Office.

Recent Content


Black Lives Matter

Activism for Reconciliation in a Divided Country Since a policeman killed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, the United States has experienced a new phase of dealing …

Martin Leiner, DAAD/AGI Research Fellow

AGI is pleased to welcome Dr. Martin Leiner as a DAAD/AGI Research Fellow from October to November 2021. Martin Leiner is Professor for Protestant Theology and Ethics at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena. …