Mag. Dr. Martina Gajdos

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After studying psychology, Martina Gajdos started with African languages at the University of Vienna and this became her passion.

She began her career as africanist with the project „Language, testimony of history“, a topic that influenced her entire professional life. Despite various different work stations, she spent many times in West Africa doing linguistic and sociological researches, especially in Mali and Senegal.
She has now been teaching Fulfulde for 25 years, covering all varieties of this language, which is spread all over the Sahel region.

Her courses also address rituals, symbols and nonverbal communications as well as patterns of linguistic research, individual perception and conflict analyses. More and more her focus turns towards the observance of human rights and strengthening of democratization processes all around the world.




  • CV

    Born - in Vienna  / Austria



    • PhD in Psychology; University of Vienna
    • Master‘s Degree in African Studies; University of Vienna


    Additional Courses

    • University of Jena  Germany, Intercultural Summer-Academy: Intercultural Conflict-Management
    • ASPR - Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution; IPT  International Civilian Peace-keeping and Peace-building Training Program – Election Observation and Assistance
    • EODS - Election Observation and Democratic Support, Brussels; Formation pour observateurs de longue durée de l‘UE


    Current Activities

    • since 1992: Lecturer at the Department of African Studies at the University of Vienna specialized in Fulfulde, a West African Language, and in Conflict management and Ritual patterns in verbal expressions
    • since 2006: freelance Novelist
    • since 2012: Election Observer for the European Union (Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Nepal, Nigeria, Iraq, …)


    Professional Experience

    • 2001 - 2005: Socio-cultural Consultant within the interdisciplinary SAHPRO „Sahel-Project“, conducted by the Federal Research Institute „TGM“ / Vienna. Investigating the preconditions for an application of new agricultural technologies and their acceptance in the population. Mediator in communication difficulties between the cultures.
    • 1999 - 2000: Manager and Editor in Chief, responsible for Documentation and Publications at Infoterm (International Information Centre for Terminology) in Vienna. Supporting the Secretariat of ISO/TC 37 and standardization activities in general.
    • 1998 - 1999: Project Leader of a Jubiläumsfondsprojekt financed by the Österreichische Nationalbank: Innovation oder Marginalisierung? Eigeninitiativen zur Arbeitsplatzbeschaffung im informellen Sektor als Überlebensstrategie in afrikanischen Metropolen – am Beispiel Dakar.
    • 1997 - 1998: Coordinator at the Asylkoordination (an association of aid agencies for asylum seekers). Leading campaigns, conception and organization of seminars, in charge of databases and membership administration, editing work.
    • 1989 - 1994: Research Assistant at the Department of African Studies / Vienna. Etymological work on the Fulani Language. Linguistic and historical evaluation of former made field tests and the research project: language - testimony of history „Sprache als Zeugnis der Geschichte“.
    • 1987 - 1988: Public relation work, with the focus on women in developing countries (ÖIE and VIDC). Compilation and implementation of information campaigns with women invited from Asia, Africa and South-America.


    Field Research in West Africa 

    • 2008: Language research: Interviews with Fulɓe people in Nioro du Sahel / Mali
    • 2004: Senegal: sociological and ethnological research for the SAHPRO-Project.
    • 2002: Region du Fleuve / Senegal: sociological research accompanied the agrarian SAHPRO-Project.
    • 1998: Cultural and linguistic research in Mali and Gambia
    • 1993: Linguistic and historical studies in Dakar (Senegal) and Nioro (Mali)
    • 1991/92: Mali: Historical Research and linguistic analyses within different Fulani dialects, description of the Raŋaaɓe variation – Nioro du Sahel.
    • 1989/90: Cultural research (cultural expressions and dances) in the South of Senegal.
    • 1985: Research on non-verbal communication in Mali.
  • Research interests

    Fulani in West Africa

                Language, culture and living conditions of the Fulɓe


    In the field of Communication,

                Intercultural Communication, Nonverbal Communication


    In the field of Human Rights

                Conflict research, conflict management, democratization processes


    In the area of conflicts

                Conflict development, strategies, conflict and speech,

                Fundamentalism, emergence and manifestations

Last updated: 20.12.2021