Of all the regions of Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe has experienced the most upheavals since the nineteenth century. This makes it an excellent example for the purposes of illustrating processes of transformation. The mere fact that 24 states have gained independence since 1990 shows the enormity of the change, accompanied as it was by far-reaching upheavals in the political and economic as well as social and cultural systems. The years 1945, 1918, and 1878 marked similar turning points. This is the only region in Europe that has seen war since the Second World War. In this respect, there is not only a strong need for research to explain the causes and consequences of these repeated transformations, findings from Eastern and Southeast Europe can also make an important contribution to addressing more general questions, such as the preconditions for catch-up development, the dynamics of democratization and de-democratization or state and nation-building in multiethnic, post-imperial areas. The region has always been characterized by geopolitical rivalries, both historically and today, and is therefore of particular political importance, especially for Germany as an immediate neighbor. Key challenges for the future of the European project arise in this region, regarding the EU integration of the Western Balkans and the stabilization of Ukraine, for instance. With its research on these issues and their historical background, the IOS sheds light on complex interrelationships.
Objectives and Principles
The Institute of East and Southeast European Studies (IOS) is one of the largest and longest-established research institutions of its kind in Germany. It has been built on a history of more than 90 years of research on Eastern and Southeast Europe by its predecessor institutes (Osteuropa-Institut and Südost-Institut). Its primary goal is to conduct innovative research on an international scale and to develop and provide infrastructure services that benefit the research community, as well as to inform the public about the region.
Thanks to its international visibility and regional expertise, the IOS makes a significant contribution to the Regensburg Eastern and Southeast Europe area studies cluster and aims to strengthen it in cooperation with the University of Regensburg. As a member of the Leibniz Association (since 2017), the Institute benefits from the manifold opportunities offered by this unique association of more than 90 scientific institutions and contributes to its ongoing development.