Prof. Kouadio Becomes the First in His African Community to Earn PhD

Byline: Sandrine Berre

Posted: May 3, 2010

Asst. Prof. of International Studies, Bertin Kouadio, earned chance to complete PhD in U.S. while his home in the Cote d'Ivoire struggles politically.

International studies professor and chair of the international studies department, Bertin Kouadio, was the first of his community to obtain a PhD, the accomplishment of a work he has been working on for several years.

The early years of his studies

Raised by his uncle, Bertin Kouadio spent the beginning of his life in Côte d'Ivoire. He was living in a society separated into two: women and men, in a patriarchal system. In the 1990s, Kouadio obtained a scholarship to come to the United States because of the political instability that his country of Côte d'Ivoire went through at that time. First, his objective was to finish his bachelor's degree and encouraged by his professors, then started a Masters in international relations in Miami, Florida. After his Masters, in 2002-2003, he was advised to work on a PhD on the Civil war that happened in the country at about the same time.

Collecting the information in the country and working on the theory

His research was both based on field research, in Côte d'Ivoire as well as a study of the civil war through theoretical writings. Even if this process was quite dangerous because of the rebels from whom he was looking information from, Kouadio kept on working really hard and never gave up during the experience. Working in collaboration with the rebels as well as the youth, men, women, educated, uneducated, Kouadio wanted to study all the social ladders of the society. Through his project, he was able to collect an important number of documents, accounts of many different people and records of his research in the field. After that, he compared this conflict with many others that happened throughout the world since the 1940s in order to find common grounds about the causes of the conflict.

Kouadio's PhD: a personal and global achievement

For Kouadio, having written a PhD is part of a personal achievement, a work that made him proud. Back at home, his success was perceived quite differently “my father said I could be the President now” claims Kouadio showing that his research also has a more global meaning. He knows that he has a role to play since he wrote this work. Somehow, he still wants to be a “simple guy” because he will always know what he has accomplished.

A issue which is far from over

Not so long ago, his work has been chosen by the American Political Science Association (APSA) to be nominated the best research project in the country (the result will be revealed in September). For Kouadio: “being nominated by the APSA is one of the things that values my work a lot because this association is neutral and does not specifically selects works about Africa but about political science in general. And it is something I am very happy about.” Nowadays, Côte d'Ivoire is still unstable and progress has to be made in the country. His work obviously helped the society being more aware of the conflicts still going on at that time. Kouadio's entire thesis is available online on FIU's website (Florida international University). Read it by clicking here.

Last Updated: October 14, 2011

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