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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


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

Jul 1993Jul 1997

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

Oct 19871993

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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Annabelle Böttcher is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Islam Medicine & Life Sciences
Education Medicine & Life Sciences
Health Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1997 2019

Overcoming obstacles along the pathway to integration for Syrian healthcare professionals in Germany

Abbara, A., Rayes, D., Omar, M., Zakaria, A., Shehadeh, F., Raddatz, H., Böttcher, A. & Tarakji, A., 1. Aug 2019, In : BMJ Global Health. 4, 4, p. e001534 e001534.

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Syrian Healthcare Workers in Germany: Challenges and Pathways to Integration

Böttcher, A., Abbara, A., Rayyes, D., Omar, M. & Shehadeh, F., Jan 2019, (Submitted) In : BMJ Global Health.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Ahmad Kaftaru

Böttcher, A., 2018, (Submitted) Encyclopedia of Islam Three: Middle East and Islamic Studies. Fleet, K., Krämer, G. & Matringe, D. (eds.). 3 ed. Brill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEncyclopedia chapterResearchpeer-review

Humanitarian Aid and the Battle of Aleppo

Böttcher, A., Apr 2017

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationResearch

Open Access

Large-scale Forced Population Transfers in Syria: Details of the Recent "Four-Towns-Agreement"

Böttcher, A., May 2017

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationResearch

Open Access

Activities 2004 2019

Conceptual workshop in patientologie

Annabelle Böttcher (Participant), Morten Sodemann (Organizer), Jytte Isaksen (Participant), Karen Hvidtfeldt (Participant)
28. Aug 2019

Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation

19th International Conference of the Syrian American Medical Society on “Forced Migration and Healthcare Challenges in Protracted Crisis”

Annabelle Böttcher (Participant), Angela Kaindl (Participant), Joachim Seybold (Organizer), Ahmad Tarakji (Organizer)
27. Jun 201929. Jun 2019

Activity: Attending an eventOrganisation or participation in workshops, courses or seminars

War, Migration, Wellbeing and Mental Health of Muslims in Denmark

Annabelle Böttcher (Guest lecturer)
11. Jun 2019

Activity: Talks and presentationsGuest lectures, external teaching and course activities at other universities

Managing Mental Health of Muslim Detainees in German Detention

Annabelle Böttcher (Guest lecturer)
22. May 2019

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies

Health, Islamic Culture and War

Annabelle Böttcher (Guest lecturer)
21. May 2019

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies

Projects 2008 2019

Press / Media

Inklusion af kvinder med ikke-vestlig baggrund

Annabelle Böttcher


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Urspruenge und Eigenheiten der Schia

Annabelle Böttcher


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Die Dollars der Ayatollahs

Annabelle Böttcher


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Teaching & Supervision

The Conflict in Syria and the Social Media

Annabelle Böttcher


Course: Teaching and supervisionTeaching


Annabelle Böttcher


Course: Teaching and supervisionTeaching

Religiöse Autoritäten im schiitischen Islam (Religious authorities in Shiite Islam)

Annabelle Böttcher


Course: Teaching and supervisionTeaching

Islam in Deutschland und Österreich

Annabelle Böttcher


Course: Teaching and supervisionTeaching