The Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS)

The Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung –IOS) in Regensburg is one of the largest and longest-established institutions of its kind in Germany. The Institute combines historical, economic and other social science expertise and conducts both fundamental as well as policy-oriented interdisciplinary research with a special focus on the regions of East and Southeast Europe, which lie at the core of OSCE activities. 

Organized as a non-university research institution, IOS that was funded in 2012 builds upon a history of more than 80 years of research into East and Southeast Europe by its predecessor institutes – the Osteuropa-Institut (est. 1952) and the Südost-Institut (est. 1930). The Institute provides excellent infrastructure services for research, including the supervision and publication of academic journals, book series, working papers and handbooks, as well as a specialized library (with more than 320,000 items) and comprehensive electronic services (including specialist databases and research portals). In addition IOS gives particular emphasis to its international orientation. The Institute has its own program for guest scholars and it hosts scholarship holders from other institutions. By organizing numerous scholarly events it helps to advance academic debates internationally.

In the end of 2015 a Junior Research Group was established to strengthen the Institute’s expertise in the field of political sciences and international relations. This group analyses the various protracted conflicts in former Soviet Union and former Yugoslav areas. Thereby, IOS aims to broaden the understanding of the dynamics of conflict and cooperation around some disputed areas where OSCE is playing a key role. The team combines expertise inter alia on the Balkans, Ukraine as well as Northern and Southern Caucasus.

Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung
Landshuter Str. 4
93047 Regensburg
Tel: +49-941-943-5410
Fax: +49-941-943-5427


Dr Cindy Wittke
Leader of the Research Group "Frozen and Unfrozen Conflicts"


Cindy Wittke is leader of the research group “Frozen and Unfrozen Conflicts” at the Leibniz-Institute for East and Southeast European Studies in Regensburg. Previously, she was a senior researcher with the Department of Politics and Public Administration of the University of Konstanz.

Wittke earned a Magistra Artium in East European Studies, and a Ph.D. in Law from the Faculty of Law of the Freie Universität (FU) Berlin. Her research is situated at the intersection of international law and politics. It addresses questions about law making in post-conflict settings, the negotiation and implementation of internationalised peace agreements between state and non-state parties, and processes of constitution making in conflict-ridden contexts.

Wittke’s work is based on her pluridisciplinary background as well as on her previous affiliation with interdisciplinary research centres. These include Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood at the FU Berlin; the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law in Cambridge; and the Centres for Law, Society & Culture, and for Constitutional Democracy at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law.

She is author of peer-reviewed academic journal articles and her book “Law in the Twilight: International Courts and Tribunals, the Security Council, and the Internationalisation of Peace Agreements between State and Non-State Parties” will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2018.

Sebastian Relitz is a research associate in the research group “Frozen and Unfrozen Conflicts” and program director of the dialogue initiative “Corridors – Dialogue through Cooperation”. Prior to joining IOS, Mr. Relitz worked at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena and the National Cheng-Chi University in Taipei. He also gained various experience in civil society and political institutions. 

Mr. Relitz is an expert on international engagement, confidence-building measures and dialogue in protracted conflicts. Regionally, he focusses on the South Caucasus, Moldova and Taiwan. 

Within the OSCE-network he has been contributing to the 2017 project “Confidence-Building Measures in the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension” and the 2016 project “Protracted Conflicts in the OSCE Region: Innovative Approaches for Co-operation in the Conflict Zones”.