Congratulations to Alex Ntung, prospective PhD student at the School of Politics and International Relations, on the award of a prestigious Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC)-studentship! The studentship will cover his tuition fees for up to four years full-time training and will provide an annual stipend. As a holder of an ESRC studentship, Alex is also able to access additional ESRC funds for research training, conference attendance, fieldwork, and institutional visits.
Alex Ntung was born into a family of cattle herders, semi-nomadic, pastoralist people in South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Growing up, he survived extreme hardship and violence on a terrifying scale as he lost many members of his family. His hunger for education took Alex to a school where he encountered countless incidents of xenophobia and violence against him as a member of a minority ethnic group in DRC. He was later forcibly deported to Rwanda where he witnessed the 1994 genocide and subsequent violence fuelled by Tutsi and Hutu ethnicity. Alex came to the UK and underwent a stringent asylum process. Overcoming major cultural and language barriers, he went to college and university and gained an MA in Anthropology of Conflict, Violence and Conciliation. He has written a book (Not My Worst Day) about his experience in Rwanda and the DRC.
Alex’ research will investigate the interplay between religious beliefs (the African Traditional Religions – ATRs, ‘modern Africanised forms of Christianity’ and other supernatural beliefs) and modern politics in the DRC, looking at their significance, influence and place in modern peace processes.
The School is delighted to welcome Alex for his PhD in September 2018. Alex will be supervised by Dr Nadine Ansorg and Dr Harmonie Toros.