Alex Bruens

Ph.D. (2024)
they, them, theirs


Alex Bruens is a fifth-year PhD candidate. Their research examines United Nations (UN) peacekeeping and political interventions in civil wars; as well as the myriad non-governmental and state actors working alongside the United Nations in development and peacebuilding after civil wars. They investigate the effect of these interventions on violent and non-violent state repression during and after civil conflicts. Their dissertation, with three empirical chapters, addresses the variation in UN political and peacekeeping missions, their effects on dynamics of state repression, and how networks of peacebuilding, development, and humanitarian actors condition these effects.

For the past three years, Alex was a lead research assistant on a National Science Foundation-funded project with PIs  Susanna Campbell and Jessica Maves Braithwaite -- Networks of Influence and Support in Peace Operations. In this role, Alex has worked with a large, diverse team of over 30 undergraduate and graduate research assistants, and they have multiple papers in progress coauthored with the PIs. The project is based in the Research on International Policy Implementation Lab (RIPIL) at American University.

Alex taught POL202: Introduction to International Relations in Summer 2022 and is teaching POL415: The Scientific Study of Civil Wars through Fall 2023.

They attended the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMR) in 2023 and participated in the Bridging the Gap New Era Workshop in 2022. Alex holds two bachelor’s degrees from Florida Atlantic University and a master’s degree from the University of Arizona.