Friday, July 11, 2008

Our graduate students

Even though we are leaving the University of Jos for a while, our work there is not yet finished. We continue to supervise our doctoral students by means of email. We each have three students that we are supervising, although all of them have co-supervisors who can be present when they have to make one of the three required presentations to the department. Since we helped them start their projects, they want us to continue supervising them, even if at a distance. Several of our doctoral students are colleagues in our department, while one of our students teaches at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria. Wendy is still working with two TCNN faculty members, Rebecca on the issue of women in violent conflict and Dauda on the stigmatization of the poor in the Nigerian churches. She has also begun supervisory work with Kate, one of our Unijos colleagues, on the issue of the ‘secular’ nature of the Nigerian constitution. Adrian is helping Unijos colleagues Cosmos with his dissertation on bishop Desmond Tutu's nonviolent approach as a model for African countries, and Chikas on the impact of sharia on the education of women in Northern Nigeria; he also supervises Dennis of TCNN on the issue of breaking the cycle of curses which affect families through many generations. We realize that it may take them several years to finish their theses, especially since many also work full-time teaching. We pray that through email communication and occasional visits we can help them all through to the defense. It is our intention to return to Nigeria early next year so that we can work with them face-to-face.

Wendy working with Rebeca in our home (which we often do)

When the executive director of Christian Studies International, Dr. Henk Van Andel, together with his wife, Vicky, visited Jos last December, we invited our doctoral students to our home, to socialize and meet our director. It was the first time we had them all at our home at any one time.

The meeting of the Van Andels with our graduate students in our home in Jos

Two of our master’s students in the Ethics and Philosophy division, Peter Atanda and Tom Phinehas, defended the theses on which they have been working with us some years already. Peter did an analysis of the ethnic/religious riots which erupted in Kaduna in 2002 in connection with the aborted Miss World Beauty contest. Peter, who is a pastor, hopes to implement his research for ongoing efforts in dialogue between Christians and Muslims. Tom’s thesis focused on ecological problems of Kaduna, where he too is a pastor. His work has already produced results: his congregation is involved in cleaning up the environment in their part of the city.

Peter Atanda (in the middle) with other students in Wendy's class

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