Annabelle Böttcher

, Prof. Dr.

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Personal profile

Research areas

I am adjunct at the Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies. From 2016 to 2019 I was professor. Before joining the center, I worked as an advisor and delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in various war and conflict zones from 2005 until 2015, among them Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Niger, Switzerland, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey. 

I hold an PhD in Political Science from the Universität Freiburg i.B. and a habilitation in Islamic Studies from the Freie Universität Berlin. During my PhD I had a research post at the Institut Francais d'Études Arabes de Damas in Damascus and was affiliated with the Orient Institut in Beirut. During my habilitation I spent two years as a fellow at Harvard University and two years at the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut. I have also taught as a visiting professor for European Islam at the University of Vienna in Austria. 

I conduct research in two broad fields. First, I am interested in Middle Eastern politics and politics of Islam, structure and teachings in Islamic (Sunni, Shii and Sufi) networks, gender and religious authority in Islam, Sufi Islam (Naqshbandiyya), the role of social media in the Syrian conflict.  Secondly, I look at health and Islamic culture, culturally coded expression of health and illness, stress management, jinn-possession, migration, victims of war (patient and health care professionals), humanitarian and medical aid in the Syrian war. Currently, I am working on cultural negotiation processes of Muslim patient in the Danish and European health system.

I cooperate with the Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin and since 2018, I am a member of the SCIANA The Health Leader Network, a European network for European health leaders, sponsored by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Germany, the Health Foundation in Great Britain and the Careum Stiftung in Switzerland. I am a Robert Bosch fellow and work with the Robert Bosch Stiftung on health and migration-related projects.  

Education/Academic qualification

Islamic Studies, Habilitation, Free University of Berlin


Award Date: 1. May 2006

Political Science / Orientalistik / Public Law, PhD, University of Freiburg

Jul 1993Jul 1997

Award Date: 14. May 1998

Political Science / Semitic Studies / Public Law, MA, University of Freiburg

Oct 19871993

Award Date: 31. Jul 1993

Sharia Law, Guest student, University of Sharia Law, University of Damascus


Arabic Language / Sharia Law, Scholarship German Government

Aug 1988Jul 1989

External positions

Research Associate, Charité - University Medicine Berlin

2016 → …

Advisor Turkey, International Committee of the Red Cross

Apr 2014Mar 2015

Regional Advisor Syria, International Committee of the Red Cross

May 2012Apr 2014

Head of Subdelegation Agadez/Niger, International Committee of the Red Cross

Mar 2011Feb 2012

Delegate Islamic Circles Bangladesh, International Committee of the Red Cross

Nov 2010Feb 2011

Deputy Head of Delegation Yemen, International Committee of the Red Cross

Aug 2008Mar 2010

Advisor, German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Auswaertiges Amt - German Embassy of Indonesia

1. Mar 200831. Mar 2008

Visiting Professor, University of Vienna

Nov 2007Feb 2008

Adjunct Professor, Free University of Berlin

May 2006 → …

Delegate for Central/South Iraq, International Committee of the Red Cross

May 2005May 2007

Delegate for North Iraq, International Committee of the Red Cross

Mar 2005May 2005

Consultant , Harvard University

Jan 2004Feb 2005

Researcher, Harvard University

1. Aug 200231. Aug 2002

Consultant, Auswaertiges Amt

May 2002Jan 2005

Lecturer, Free University of Berlin

Oct 2001Mar 2005

Researcher, Saint Joseph University

Sep 2000Aug 2001

Researcher, Harvard University

Sep 1999Aug 2000

Researcher, Orient-Institut Beirut

Sep 1998Aug 1999

Researcher, Harvard University

Oct 1997Jul 1998

Researcher PhD, Institut Francais d'Etudes Arabes in Damascus, Syria

Sep 1995Jul 1997

Researcher PhD, Institut Francais d'Etudes Arabes in Damascus, Syria

Aug 1993Jul 1995

Research areas

  • Security and Conflict
  • Islamic Studies
  • Conflict Studies (Middle East)
  • Health: Patient Diversity Management
  • Humanitarian Aid Industry
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Mental Health in Detention
  • Guantanamo
  • Salafism
  • Syria
  • Lebanon
  • Iraq
  • Turkey
  • Non-conventional arms carriers


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