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The Institute
The “Institut für Weltkirche und Mission” (IWM) is an academic institute of the German Bishops’ Conference at the Jesuit college Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. It was founded in 2009 with the purpose of strengthening the academic reflection on Christian mission and the worldwide Church.
University building of the Phil.-Theol. Hochschule Sankt Georgen (Photo: Dietmar Strauß)
The IWM is committed to theological research and teaching that reflects on issues of the worldwide church and its mission as it is carried out in various fields. The notion of “mission” implies a critical dialogue with the history of the Church and, therefore, plays a crucial role in the theological approach of the IWM. Theological research also includes the role of mission in the context of health, education and global migration. Furthermore, the situation of international Catholic communities in Germany, of contextual theologies, of interreligious and intercultural questions are in the focus of the IWM’s academic work.


The IWM cooperates with theological institutions in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. In Germany, it collaborates with the missiological chairs of universities and institutes as well as with Catholic aid organisations and German dioceses’ departments for the global church.


The IWM provides an opportunity to encourage the theological research conducted in the area of missiology by providing an international theological forum. The research projects of IWM’s own associates, externally founded projects, symposiums, conferences, college seminars, talks and academic publications each contribute in their way to realise this aspiration.

  • Commissioner Director
The world church and mission are understood as two interrelated fields of activity: Missionary questions are always discussed in their world church context, whereby the German context is not excluded as a component of the world church; conversely, questions of the world church and world church work are examined in the context of missionary efforts of the church.
think global
act local
The Spirit, the driving force of proclamation, becomes the principle of unity and diversity. It enables the Church to unite all cultures within itself without ignoring differences and at the same time to preserve a truly concrete university.
Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, 1991


Through research, the IWM provides missiological groundwork in an intercultural perspective and reflects on the shape of the universal church.


Through teaching at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology, the IWM addresses questions of the mission of the church in theological discourse.


With annual conferences and study days, the IWM offers a platform for international exchange on current topics in missiology.


The programs of the IWM strengthen the importance of the church as a global learning community and support the work of the dioceses and catholic aid organisations in Germany.


With our competent scientific and administrative staff, we take care of a wide range of tasks and projects.
  • Markus Luber SJ
    • Acting Director
  • Marion Waidlein
    • Head of the Secretariat
  • Roman Beck
    • Deputy Director / Programme Coordinator
  • Silvia Braun
    • Assistant for the scholarship program
  • Catalina Cerda Planas
    • Research Associate - Mission and Education
  • Friederike Dillenseger
    • Research Associate - Mission History
  • Leandro L. B. Fontana
    • Research Associate - Political Pentecostalism
  • Branka Gabric
    • Research Associate - Mission and Health
  • Alina Greco Coppi
    • Research Associate - Mission and Migration
  • Markus A. Scholz
    • Research Associate - Mission History Collections


The organisation of the IWM is laid down in its statutes. The Institute is assigned to the Commission Weltkirche (X) of the German Bishops’ Conference and is supported in its work by the Administrative Council, the Scientific Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees.
The Administrative Council of the Institute shall advise on the financial and legal affairs of the Institute and prepare the decisions of the Association of German Dioceses (VDD). The Administrative Council decides on the budget and adopts the Institute’s annual accounts.
The members of the Administrative Board are a member of the Commission for the World Church (X) as Chairman, a representative of the funding body of the Sankt Georgen School of Philosophy, a member of the Conference of Diocesan Officers for World Church Tasks, a representative of the dioceses cooperating in the “Sankt Georgen School of Philosophy e.V.”, a representative of the dioceses, a representative of the relief agencies as well as the heads of the World Church and Migration Department in the Secretariat of the German Bishops’ Conference. The Director of the Institute takes part in the meeting of the Administrative Council with the right to speak but without the right to vote.


  • Auxiliary Bishop Dr Udo Bentz, Vicar General of the Diocese of Mainz (Chairman)
  • Dr. Dr. Thomas Fornet-Ponse – Director of the Missiology Institute (MWI) at missio e.V.
  • Thomas Frings, Head of Finance of the Diocese of Limburg
  • Ulrich Pöner, Secretariat of the German Bishops’ Conference – Head of the World Church and Migration Division
  • Dr Thomas Rigl, Head of the World Church Office in the Diocese of Regensburg
  • Dr Johannes Siedler, Legal Director at the Archdiocesan Ordinariate of Bamberg
  • Prof. P. Dr. Tobias Specker SJ – Member of the Board of the Philosophical-Theological University Sankt Georgen e.V.

The members of the Board of Directors were appointed by the Commission of the World Church for a five-year term of office until 31.10.2024.
The Director and the Administrative Board of the Institute are advised by the Scientific Advisory Board on all matters of science, study promotion, education and training and cooperation with domestic and foreign scientific institutions.
The Scientific Advisory Board has up to seven members. In addition to the Director of the IWM, the Rector of the Philosophical-Theological University of Sankt Georgen and the Chair of the Scientific Working Group for World Church Tasks are born members.


  • Dr. Michelle Becka, Professur für Christliche Sozialethik, Universität Würzburg
  • Dr. Margit Eckholt, Institut für Katholische Theologie, Universität Osnabrück
  • P. Dr. Dr. Markus Luber SJ, kommissarischer Direktor des IWM
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Meckel, Rektor der Philosophisch-Theologischen Hochschule Sankt Georgen
  • Prof. Dr. Chibueze C. Udeani, Stiftungslehrstuhl für Missionswissenschaft und Dialog der Religionen, Universität Würzburg
  • Prof. Dr. mult. Klaus Vellguth, Lehrstuhl für Pastoraltheologie mit Homiletik, Theologische Fakultät Trier
  • n.n., Vorsitzender der Wissenschaftlichen Arbeitsgruppe für weltkirchliche Aufgaben

The Commission for the World Church has appointed the members of the Scientific Advisory Board for a period of five years until 30.09.2025.
The Board of Trustees serves to involve the various agencies of world church work in Germany and to agree on cooperation between the Institute and the world church institutions.
The Board of Trustees is chaired by the Chairman of the Institute’s Administrative Council. The Board of Trustees includes one member each of the management of Adveniat, Caritas International, Kindermissionswerk, Misereor, Missio and Renovabis as well as representatives of the religious orders, one representative of the ZdK, two representatives of the dioceses and one head of the Department for the World Church and Migration in the Secretariat of the German Bishops’ Conference.


  • Auxiliary Bishop Dr Udo Bentz, Vicar General of the Diocese of Mainz (Chairman)
  • Dr Gregor Freiherr von Fürstenberg, missio – International Catholic Mission Societies in Aachen
  • Franz Gulde, Bischöfliches Hilfswerk MISEREOR e.V. (Episcopal Relief Organisation MISEREOR)
  • Monsignor Wolfgang Huber, missio – International Catholic Mission Society Ludwig Missionsverein KdöR
  • Dr Markus Ingenlath, Renovabis
  • P. Dr Martin Meier SJ, Episcopal Action Adveniat
  • Dr Oliver Müller, German Caritas Association
  • Ulrich Pöner, Secretariat of the German Bishops’ Conference – Head of the World Church and Migration Division
  • Dr Thomas Rigl, Head of the World Church Office in the Diocese of Regensburg
  • P. Prof. Dr. Martin Üffing SVD, Steyler Missiology Institute
  • Anne Wunden, Children’s Missionary Work “Die Sternensinger” (The Star Singers)
  • n.n., KDW
  • n.n., ZdK

IWM TV Take a look!
The channel of the Institute for World Church and Mission in Frankfurt am Main. Visit our Youtube channel!
The Institute works with national and international partners in various thematic fields. Our cooperation partners support us in the planning and implementation of concrete research projects. In addition to scientific networking, they are an important prerequisite for a fruitful dialogue between world church practice and theology to succeed in our work.
The Episcopal Action ADVENIAT is an aid organisation of the Catholic Church in Germany. It has been supporting pastoral and social projects to combat poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1961.
Caritas International is the relief agency of German Caritas. In cooperation with more than 160 national Caritas organisations, it is committed to helping people in emergency and disaster situations worldwide.
The “International Institute for Missiology Research” (IIMF) is a Catholic association of scholars and friends for the promotion of missiology and the study of intercultural relations and developments. The IIMF is ecumenically open.

The IIMF publishes the “Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft und Religionswissenschaft” every six months.

The International Association of Catholic Missiologists (IACM) is an association of Catholic mission theologians. Its aim is to promote missiology research, study and education activities and thus contribute to the missionary mandate of the Church.
KAAD is the scholarship organisation of the German Catholic Church for postgraduates and academics from (developing) countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Near and Middle East as well as Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

Through scholarships, educational events and personal and spiritual support, it promotes its scholarship holders with a view to multiplier work in their home countries. This is done in cooperation with partner bodies and associations of former scholarship holders in these countries with the aim of (scientific) networking and contributing to holistic development, which includes the religious and interreligious dimension.

The children’s missionary organisation “Die Sternsinger” is the children’s aid organisation of the Catholic Church in Germany with its headquarters in Aachen. Since 1959, it has organised the “Aktion Dreikönigssingen” in Germany, since 1961 together with the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ).
KOLPING INTERNATIONAL consists of the International Kolping Society (IKW), Social and Development Aid of the Kolping Society (SEK e.V.) and the International Adolph Kolping Foundation. The IKW is a Catholic social association founded by Adolph Kolping. The members form a family-like and life-long community. KOLPING INTERNATIONAL promotes the development of its members in many areas of daily life through education and action. It is divided into local Kolping Families and their associations in diocesan or regional Kolping Societies and central Kolping Societies (National Kolping Societies).
The internet portal of the Weltkirche Conference. The Weltkirche Conference was established by the German Bishops’ Conference on 1 January 2011. It brings together representatives of the world church institutions and aid agencies in Germany twice a year.
Misereor is an aid organisation of the Catholic Church in Germany that has been in existence since 1958. Together with local partners, it supports people of all faiths, cultures and skin colours in over 90,000 projects.
Together, missio in Aachen and missio in Munich form the International Catholic Mission Agency in Germany. It is one of the more than 100 papal mission agencies worldwide and supports the local churches in Asia, Africa and Oceania.
he Missionsärztliches Institut Würzburg is an organisation of Christian health professionals committed to holistic and sustainable health work in One World. It cooperates with partners of church development cooperation, church-supported health services in countries of the South and other civil society organisations. In addition, the Institute of Mission Doctors cooperates with various institutions of German bilateral and multilateral development cooperation.
Renovabis was founded in March 1993 as a “solidarity campaign of German Catholics with the people of Central and Eastern Europe”. Renovabis supports its partners in the pastoral, social and societal renewal of the former communist countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.
The purpose of the association “Theologie interkulturell e.V.” is the establishment and maintenance of a guest lectureship and the organisation of academic events for “Theology interculturally at the Department of Catholic Theology of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main” as well as the promotion of academic research in this field.