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Wife hails hero husband as he graduates with a Master’s in International Relations from Queen’s

Elise Fambro, from the USA, was the first to congratulate her husband, Jonah, on his graduation from Queen’s University Belfast, and hailed him a hero for achieving a Master’s while caring for her during a chronic illness and their two young children

The couple, who moved from Utah to Belfast with their children Liam (aged 4) and Jaeleigh (aged 2), have endured an intense and gruelling year. 

Jonah said, “For us, this Master’s not only signifies academic achievement, it will also always serve to remind me what can be achieved through perseverance and determination by the grace of God.  I decided to undertake this Master’s to improve my job prospects and to be better equipped to serve international communities with my family. Little did I know what personal challenges I would have when I embarked on this course.  I’m so thankful to have completed my Master’s – it feels like an amazing accomplishment given our circumstance.” 

Jonah’s wife Elise, who contacted Queen’s University with their story, added, “I am so proud of and thankful for my husband. Shortly after selling whatever didn’t fit in our suitcases and moving to Belfast, I became chronically ill and was so debilitated that I was no longer able to care for myself or my children. Jonah had to care for us all, while researching and trying to write a dissertation. The pandemic also impacted my treatment, with delayed appointments further hampering my recovery.”

She added, “I am so impressed by the positive attitude and the relentless hardworking man I watched succeed so well at Queen’s despite being in the middle of a handful of crises. We are very grateful to Queen’s for being so flexible and supportive towards us.”

Jonah’s dissertation was in ‘Religious Legitimacy through NGO Formation’. The family is now back living in the United States. Jonah is currently working towards becoming an international missionary within the next year and hopes his Master’s will provide him insight on how to best care for the communities he serves. 

This International Relations programme at Queen’s is designed to analyse various aspects of International Relations. Using methodology and theory, the course seeks to examine, explain and understand the issues, topics and processes that make up our world, from security and terrorism, migration and mobility, to global financial crises. 


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