Our Current Projects

global economic ethics 
Transculturality and Community – Uganda and the Hope Development Initiative

How can the concept of transculturality be applied to the work of the Hope Development Initiative, helping women farmers in Uganda?

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Transculturality or Hybridity? The Case of Hong Kong

Tackling questions of transcultural cooperation and the relating determinants and processes in Hong Kong through field study and observation.

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01.06.18 - 01.07.19
Transculturality and Community - Uganda and the Hope Development Initiative

Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ


Project management and research cooperation

Dominik Fischer, Research fellow at the LEIZ

Julika Baumann Montecinos, Head of “Transcultural Management Studies” at LEIZ and Project Manager of the Transcultural Caravan

Project consultancy

Prof. Dr. Josef Wieland, Director of the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ and Founder of the Transcultural Caravan (Academic Lead)

Dr. Agnes Atim Apea, Founder & CEO of The Hope Development Initiative

Cooperation partners

The Hope Development Initiative
Dr. Agnes Atim Apea

The starting point of this research project was the talk of Dr. Agnes Atim Apea, founder and CEO of the Hope Development Initiative (HDI), at the Transcultural Leadership Summit 2017 at Zeppelin University. At this Summit on “Learning about Sub-Saharan Africa”, Dr. Apea presented her work with the HDI to the audience. Her talk gave spontaneously rise to ideas on how to take her thoughts further within the context of transcultural research.

As a social-entrepreneurship initiative, HDI helps women farmers in northern rural Uganda realize their full potential, based upon the values of their communities and their own ambitions. With a view to this purpose, HDI encapsulates several topics relevant for the research agenda pursued by LEIZ, centered upon the notions of culture, leadership and cooperation. As the concept of ‘community’ is an important part of transculturality, we want to examine this concept in the case of the HDI further.

The goal of this research project therefore is to focus on the work of the HDI and to analyze how it transforms the communities it is working in. Correspondingly, the interdisciplinary group’s research effort aims at tackling questions of transcultural cooperation and the relating determinants and processes in HDI’s work.

The format of a Transcultural Research Group offers a transcultural learning arena to young researchers from diverse cultural and disciplinary backgrounds, with each researcher making a particular contribution to the overall research questions. Based on field study, expert interviews and observation, the students aim to describe and analyze features and determinants of transculturality in the contexts of politics, the arts, social entrepreneurship, culture and identity, digitalization, business and leadership. Those insights will be drawn from HDI and its environment.

01.07.17 - 30.03.19
Transculturality or Hybridity? The Case of Hong Kong

Leadership Excellence Institute | LEIZ

Udo Vetter Travel Scholarship

Project management and research cooperation

Ross Cheung, Erasmus Mundus Master in Global Studies, Research Assistant at the Department of Education and Leadership, The Education University of Hong Kong

Project consultancy

Dr. Vivien W. W. Chan, Research Associate at the University of Technology of Sydney

Dr. Leila Hadj-Abdou, Research Associate at the University of Sheffield

Prof. Dr. Josef Wieland, Director of the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ and Founder of the Transcultural Caravan

Julika Baumann Montecinos, Dipl. Kulturwirtin, Head of “Transcultural Management Studies” at LEIZ and Project Manager of the Transcultural Caravan

Cooperation partners

French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC)

Institute of Future Cities (IOFC)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CHUK)

Seizing the Opportunity to Analyze Transculturality and Cultural Hybridity in Hong Kong

2017 marked the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s sovereignty handover from Great Britain to the People’s Republic of China. It is a good time for us to review the role of Hong Kong under ‘One Country, Two systems’ and the transculturality among locals, migrants, foreigners, businesses and politics since the handover.

‘Transculturalism represents the idea that there are perceptions and ideas of moral values and principles, such as humanitarianism, justice or fairness, that are common to all cultures’ (Wieland, 2015). The goal of this research project therefore is to focus on the commonalities between the diverse cultures in Hong Kong, and on the corresponding learning processes and strategies for using and developing these commonalities through transcultural cooperation.

The theory of hybridity emphasizes neither cultural assimilation nor cultural diversity, it stresses an advent, a happening, an emergence of cultural form(s). Cultural identities and environments are produced by transnational processes and cultural fusions. Cultural hybridization could cause essentializing, alternating, converting, hybridizing, and innovating.

The case of Hong Kong offers an opportunity to analyze transculturality and cultural hybridity. Hong Kong is a migrant city. It is where East meets West, in which the culture of Hong Kong is deemed to be a mixture of both.

This research project aims at tackling questions of transcultural cooperation and the relating determinants and processes in Hong Kong through field study and observation. The team assembles seven students, the perspectives of six countries, five disciplines, and four study programs offered at Zeppelin University and targets meeting international migrants and local citizens for qualitative interviews. For this purpose, each of the young researchers will focus on a specific area, namely migration, arts, communication, policy, behavioural ethics or business & entrepreneurship, and therefore add a particular contribution to the overall research question.

From 7th to 14th of January 2018 the group went on a field trip to Hong Kong, where they had the opportunity to learn first hand about their fields of interest via field study and observation, meetings with local students and experts as well as taking part in guest lectures and workshops that were organized in cooperation with local partners.

The group is now in the process of analyzing their findings. They will host a symposium at Zeppelin University in fall and publish a book presenting their results in early 2019.

Remarkable Initiatives by Others

The Hope Development Initiative in Uganda

The Hope Development Initiative is working to give poor, rural women farmers in Uganda access to tools, capital and education.

Silkroad project

The Silkroad Project promotes exchange between artists from all over the world, education, and cultural entrepreneurship.

LEAD | Mercator Center

The LEAD | Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership and Advocacy supports those who take responsibility in civil society


The welt_raum initiative enables refugees and citizens to learn from each other by creating spaces defined through mutual respect

House of One

The House of One aims at fostering dialogue, identifying common ground between religions, and thereby blurring borders


The Hope Development Initiative in Uganda

United States African Development Foundation (USADF), Uganda Development Bank, Private Sector Foundation Uganda

initiative management and research cooperation

Dr. Agnes Atim Apea, Ms Juliet Hatanga, Dr Thelma Akongo

initiative consultancy
Cooperation partners

Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI), Cordaid, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Giving rural women farmers the opportunity to realize their potential

“We believe that with better food for their families and reliable income from their businesses, farmers can build for the future.”

With this maxim, the Hope Development Initiative is working to give poor, rural women farmers access to tools, capital and education. They are provided with opportunities to better processing of the harvested food, as well as with access to local and national markets. In all that, the Initiative strives for the communities of farmers to follow their own values and ambitions, and to realize their full potential. The communities are considered to be the hub and the core of strength and solidarity within society, representing an integral part of daily life.

Dr. Agnes Atim Apea, the founder and CEO of the HDI recognizes that strengthening the leadership of women in these communities is an important contribution towards sustainable future development. It is only through good leadership that a community can cooperate towards actual improvement of living standards and a better life for the coming generations. In northern Uganda, an area with little development and attraction for investors, leadership out of and for the sake of the community is a key factor in this endeavor. With her Initiative, Dr. Apea strives to educate leaders from the community to embody this kind of leadership.


Yo-Yo Ma's Silkroad Project

Amongst others: Hyosung, National Endowment for the Humanities, Art Works.

initiative management and research cooperation

The Silk Road Project, Inc.


initiative consultancy

Golnar Khosrowshahi, Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis, Jonathan Bays…

Cooperation partners
Connecting the World Through the Arts

Yo-Yo Ma initiated the Silkroad Project in 1998. Ma is a Chinese-American cellist, composer and Harvard as well as Juilliard graduate, initiated. His project received both its name and inspiration from the historical Silk Road where people of diverse backgrounds came into interaction.

In 2000, the project created the Silk Road Ensemble – a musical collective consisting of around sixty artists bringing together music and instruments from different regions of the historical Silk Road. Their phenomenal performances which create an entirely new sound encourage the audience to think about the way humans and cultures can interact and what enormous creative potential can emerge thereby. The performances are online via their YouTube channel.

From the promotion of multicultural exchange between artists from all over the world as initial aim of Silkroad, the project developed into being active in more fields.

Silkroad engages in education, learning about culture and the corresponding artists performing. The educational programs conduCted by Silkroad focus on passion-driven learning channelLed through arts integration.

»One of the ways I think of Silkroad is that it’s a lab where openness is absolutely fundamental. You can actually go from one world to another and then create something that values the differences as well as celebreates commonalities.« Yo-Yo Ma

The third and newest part of Silkroad is the topic of Cultural Entrepreneurship. This project tackles the question of how to keep the art makers in the center of the society and, therefore, tries to bring artists and entrepreneurship together. Silkroad and Ma believe that artists and entrepreneurs are important scouts because they are forerunners and sensitive to changing conditions – and for that reason unlocking a powerful impact in our communities.

The Silkroad project has over time been always on the move! And we are sure they will keep going.



The LEAD | Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership and Advocacy

Mercator Foundation

initiative management and research cooperation

Managers: Oliver Triebel, Tobias Leipprand


initiative consultancy

Prof. Dr. Helmut K. Anheier, Dr. Petra Bahr, Prof. Dr. Karl-Rudolf Korte, Prof. Dr. Timo Meynhardt, Siegmar Mosdorf, Michael Vassiliadis

Cooperation partners
Empowerment, Research, and Discourse

To successfully tackle the world’s enormous challenges as fighting climate change, creating social justice, or solving integration problems, people who engage in public leadership are needed.

The aim of the Berlin-based center LEAD is to support those who take responsibility in civil society on all levels in Germany and worldwide.

To do so, the Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership and Advocacy is pursuing three goals:

  • Enabling relevant actors to take leadership responsibility and advocacy with an innovative curriculum
  • Conducting research in collaboration with leading research institutes and unversities on leadership and advocacy focusing on socio-political issues
  • Enhancing a global discourse and creating a network to bring relevant leaders and stakeholders together

Throughout the curriculum, four core competences for multisectoral leadership are provided. The competence of reflection, of strategy, of communication and advocacy, and – most relevant to the Transcultural Caravan – the multistakeholder competence.

The multistakeholder competence consists of various interpersonal competences:

  1. to be emphathetic, to listen, to respect
  2. to reflect one’s own values and to integrate divergent values
  3. to be able to collectively purse the own and the others’ interest in cooperation

The welt_raum Initiative

City of Friedrichshafen, Tanner AG, Lions Club Friedrichshafen, Think Big…

initiative management and research cooperation



initiative consultancy
Cooperation partners

VfB Friedrichshafen, Zeppelin University, VHS Friedrichshafen, Music School Friedrichshafen…

Enabling Space for Encounters

»The welt_raum initiative enables refugees and citizens to meet, share with, and learn from each other by creating spaces defined through mutual appreciation and respect. welt_raum aims at generating spaces in which commonalities can be found and differences overcome. To make this possible, welt_raum generates space. Space to commonly learn togetherness«

According to the founders, the welt_raum initiative does not stigmatize refugees as victims. Rather it generates societal value through viewing them as a regular group of society which can successfully contribute to our world in a mutually enriching way. These ways are based on two pillars: creating new spaces and opening already existing ones.

welt_raum acknowledges differences but focuses on commonalities. The founders believe that human experiences across borders can lead to a transcultural identity that is necessary in a globalized world.

»A main objective of our initiative is to avoid excluding effects, also between refugees, and foster community spirit. welt_raum spaces are open to everyone and we welcome participants from all parts of society. As such our projects are not aimed at specific groups or individuals«

The initiative was founded in 2014 by students. However, the initiative sees itself not as a student initiative and rather as an initiative by active and responsible citizens. An inspiring project of welt_raum is the »Learning Community«: welt_raum  in cooperation with the artsprogram of the Zeppelin University transforms the new exhibition space of Zeppelin University, the White Box, into an artistic space of mutual encounters towards a sustainable future. They enable artistic workshops, weekly meetings and a variety of events to learn community together – with refugees, students and neighbors.


The House of One


Amongst others: German Federal Foreign Office, Stiftung Zukunft Berlin, DSK GmbH…

initiative management and research cooperation

Bet- und Lehrhaus Petriplatz Berlin e. V.


initiative consultancy

Eyüp Besir, Dr. Christian Hanke, Dr. Berthold Höcker, Prof. Walter Homolka…

Cooperation partners

Transcultural end-of-life care at Lazarus Hospice, House of Religions, Three Faiths Forum, Tri-Faith Initiative, Stuttgarter Lehrhaus, Friday Saturday Sunday…

A House of Mutual Learning and Prayer

In Berlin religious communities from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam collaborate to build one house for all three religions. The House of One will contain a synagogue, a church, a mosque, and most importantly  in its center a place where all religions can come together and merge.

»At the oldest location in Berlin, where its first church was built, we want to look towards the future«

The House of One will be located where Berlins first Church was built, at Petriplatz. It is supposed to become a house of prayer and learning. The three religions will each observe their own traditions, and will use these as a starting point for seeking out dialogue with each other and with those from outside the three faiths. Science, culture, and art will also play a role in these exchanges, as will socially controversial issues. The debates will not gloss over or bemoan the differences and contradictions that exist between and within the various groups. Rather, they will see them for what they are: assets that can enrich all those who are willing to engage with them.

»The three religions have travelled different routes, but actually they have the same goals«

Preliminary a charter was set up which regulates peaceful relations between the religions. In this charter shared values are being defined: In social interation with one another and society the religions shall foster a culture of nonviolence and respect for all live promoting the worth and idiosyncratic identity of their all fellow humans. All parties respect their partners’ lives, dignity, individuality, and differences. All conduct and contribute to a live of integrity which enables a discourse in worship and faith. At the heart, then, lies equality between all religions.

But the House of One is not build yet. The costs for the project aggregate to 43.5 Million Euros. The first 10 Million Euros will allow the project to start and complete the first stage of construction. Having completed the first stage, it can already be used as a place for encounter. The House of One is funded through donations as a crowdfunding project.

  • Fieldtrip Transcultural Research Group HDI Uganda

    In our Uganda fieldtrip we will visit the Hope Development Initiative in Kampala, in their rural communities and various of its stakeholders. We will conduct many interesting interviews to advance the individual research projects of the group members that will together answer our overarching question about transculturality and the Hope Development Initiative.

  • Past: KSG Workshop “Leadership & Creativity”
  • Transcultural Research Group – Symposium 2018

    As a Pre-Event to this year’s Transcultural Leadership Summit, the Transcultural Research Groups who emerged out of the previous Summits will present their interdisciplinary as well as trans- cultural research methods and the findings they acquired from their field trips to Hong Kong and Uganda. Agenda: Part I: 15:00-16:15 Introduction to the Concept of Transcultural…


The Transcultural Caravan is initiated and executed by


The LEIZ is kindly sponsored by


»There can be no culture except where there is some consensus. Consensus is a matter of understanding. It is transmitted through communication, through example and through participation in a common life.«

Robert Ezra Park, est. early 1920s