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Current SIS PhD Students

Patrick Litanga

SIS PHD Student Profile Litanga

I grew up in Kisangani, in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a boy, life was all about street soccer, tree climbing, and sometimes fishing. But later on, I began spending more time with books than my soccer ball. I still own a soccer ball, but I haven't played it in a long time. When I have time to spare I like to play guitar, write poetry, or watch depressing movies. You may be interested to know that my preferred strategy to learn English while living in South Africa was to carry index cards filed with "situational English phrases." After a while my pockets were filed with index cards. I had them all over my apartment. I respect index cards.

My interest in International Relations started early. In primary school a good number of my classmates were Rwandan, Ugandan, and Sudanese. I knew that conflicts had forced them out of their countries. In 1994 genocide occurred in Rwandan, and in 1996 the Congo was plunged into a civil war. By then I knew how Regional and international dynamics could affect people's lives and I wanted to study them.

Why I chose SIS

I picked SIS because of the caliber of the faculty members and the diversity of their research interests. The fact that SIS is in Washington DC was a secondary reason. In my opinion SIS is like a window to the world. Although primarily an academic and a professional milieu, SIS allows one to contemplate and engage with what is occurring elsewhere in the world.

Research Interests

Post-conflict reconstruction, conflict resolution, child soldiering, and the political economy of land in post conflict settings


  • American University - Washington DC August 2012-Present
  • Ohio University - Athens August 2009-March 2012
  • University of Kentucky – Lexington, KY August 2006-May 2008
  • Lexington Community College -Lexington Kentucky June 2003-May 2006

Awards & Scholarships

  • The Jenkins Memorial Scholarship 2011, Ohio University
  • The William C. Parker Scholarship 2007-2008, The University of Kentucky
  • Deans List, December 2006 – May 2008, The University of Kentucky
  • The Presidential Scholarship 2005-2006, Lexington Community College
  • Deans List, May2004 - May 2006, Lexington Community College