Thomas is a summer research assistant at the Fund for Peace and a PhD candidate in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. For his doctorate, he is researching the effects of illicit smuggling economies on social structures in the Sahel, particularly the implications of these effects on armed conflict. He has previously conducted field reserach in Bamako, Mali after winning a Carnegie Grant and maintains a keen interest in the conflict-resolution and peacebuilding processes of the country and wider region. His most recent publication investigates the role of local Islamic leaders on preventing and absolving conflict across the center and north of Mali. He also has extensive experience traveling and studying in the Middle East, having spent three years in Cairo, Egypt earning his master’s at the American University in Cairo and studying Arabic.