Interview with AfOx Visiting Fellow Dr Emile Sunjo

Dr Emile Sunjo is a 2020 AfOx visiting Fellow in Law. Dr Sunjo shares his experience with the AfOx visiting fellowship. 

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What made you apply for the AfOx visiting fellowship?

The Cameroon Conflict Research Group at the University of Oxford called for applications for a post-Doctoral position, and I applied. The choice came down to two candidates. Unfortunately, I lost out to the other person. But the Principal Investigator (PI) was keen to work with me in some capacity. The PI was the one who informed me of the AfOx Fellowship and asked if I would be interested in applying and would readily be my collaborator at Oxford. I was immediately excited and made the application within a few days. The rest is history!

What has been your experience with the AfOx visiting fellowship?

It has been a very interesting one. First, I was meant to be in Oxford in 2020, but because of the pandemic, I couldn’t travel. I was later informed that the fellowship had been postponed to a later date and had to revert to a virtual format. Eventually, as a residential fellow, I visited the University of Oxford. Despite the very challenging process, I am happy to have finally travelled to take up the fellowship.

What have been your highlights?

My major highlight is my lecture at the Simpkins Lee Theatre, Lady Margaret Hall (LMH). I was honoured to have an impressive turnout of students and seasoned Cameroonians from the School of Geography and the Environment and Jesus College. Many Cameroonian students studying in Oxford also attended the event. The discussions were engaging, and I received positive and constructive feedback on my work. I enjoyed the formal dinner nights at LMH. It was so interesting to see faculty and students come together so frequently to eat and drink.

I was thrilled that people were excited to engage with me about my work. Colleagues were so excited to know about the research I do and often provided support and introduced me to people I could potentially collaborate with in future projects.

While in Oxford, I had access to world-class libraries and research facilities, which were instrumental in my research work.  

What have been your low moments?

The lowest moment would be when I couldn’t work with my Oxford collaborator in person. This was due to the pandemic. By the time I was able to visit Oxford, my collaborator was no longer with the University of Oxford.

How do you see the fellowship contributing to your work and career in the long term?

The fellowship has been a major career milestone for me. Through the AfOx visiting fellowship, I have developed new networks which will be instrumental in my work now and in the future. The research experience I have gained at the University of Oxford will contribute to building my capacity to deliver talks to a diverse audience. While at Oxford, I learned about journal editing, which will enhance my capacity as managing editor for my local faculty journal. Lastly, I will apply the innovative teaching techniques I learned at Oxford.