Niklaus Steiner

Director, Center for Global Initiatives

Leads the Center
Matching Funds


Niklaus Steiner is the director of the Center for Global Initiatives. He is a native of Thun, Switzerland, who moved to Chapel Hill with his family when his father became a professor at Carolina. He’s had the good fortune of moving between cultures his whole life, so he is deeply committed to providing global opportunities to all Carolina students. Niklaus earned a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in international studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in political science at Northwestern University. Because of his own movement across borders and cultures, his research and teaching interests are immigration, refugees, nationalism and citizenship. His textbook, International Migration and Citizenship Today (Routledge, 2009), aims to facilitate classroom discussions on admission and membership in democracies. When not at work, he’s often cutting or replanting flowers in the garden, looking after his chickens, walking in the woods with his family or making something up in the kitchen. Niklaus’ publications include:

  • Arguing About Asylum: The Complexity of Refugee Debates in Europe (St. Martin’s, 2000)
  • The Problems of Protection: UNHCR, Refugees, and Human Rights, eds. Niklaus Steiner, Mark Gibney and Gil Loescher (Routledge 2003)
  • Regionalism in the Age of Globalism, eds. Lothar Hoennighausen, Marc Frey, James Peacock and Niklaus Steiner (Wisconsin, 2005)
  • The Age of Apology: The West Confronts its Past, eds. Mark Gibney, Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Jean-Marc Coicaud and Niklaus Steiner (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008)
  • International Migration and Citizenship Today (Routledge, 2009)
  • Migration Security: Citizenship and Social Inclusion in a Transnational Era, eds. Niklaus Steiner, Robert Mason and Anna Hayes (Routledge 2012)

When I was an undergrad at Carolina, I spent a lot of time sitting in the Pit. Maybe too much time?”

– Niklaus