Heidelberg Sociologist Appointed to Expert Council on Integration and Migration

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Heidelberg sociologist Matthias Koenig has been a new member of the Expert Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) since the beginning of the year. The researcher was appointed to the autonomous expert body by the Federal Ministry of the Interior until the end of 2026, on the recommendation of an independent search committee. The mandate of the nine-person SVR is to give academic advice to the federal government and other authorities responsible for integration and migration policy. Matthias Koenig’s teaching and scholarly work takes place at the Max Weber Institute for Sociology at Heidelberg University. In his research, Prof. Koenig addresses human rights, migration, religion and sociological theory.

Matthias Koenig studied sociology, Protestant theology and religious studies in Hamburg and Princeton (USA), as well as at the University of Marburg, where he gained his doctorate. Following that, he worked as a research assistant at the University of Bamberg; here he also earned his habilitation. In parallel, from 1998 to 2006, he served as an advisor to UNESCO in Paris (France) in the field of social sciences. In 2006 he took up a sociology professorship focusing on sociology of religion at the University of Göttingen, before accepting a professorship for empirical macrosociology at Heidelberg University in 2020. From 2011 to 2021, Prof. Koenig was a fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, as well as a visiting scholar at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, the University of Toronto (Canada), the University of Michigan and Harvard University (USA). At present, Prof. Koenig is one of the vice presidents of the German Research Foundation.

Prof. Koenig’s research interest focuses on the interplay between the global and local dynamics regulating cultural diversity. In this connection he collaborated, inter alia, on empirical survey research among new migrants to Germany. At present the researcher is engaged in a comparative study of the societal causes, forms and consequences of institutionalising religious freedom and minority rights in international and constitutional law. In the Expert Council on Integration and Migration he succeeds sociologist Steffen Mau of the Humboldt University of Berlin, who retired from the body on completion of his term at the end of 2023.