Personal profile

Research overview

Thomas is a PhD candidate researching the political economy of smuggling across the Sahara -Sahel region. He focuses on how economic change, mainly in the introduction of new resources within well established smuggling networks, creates social changes that alter the political balance of power in these marginal areas. In turn, he argues that these changes are reflected in the structure of armed groups, particularly their propensity to fragment or strengthen around a central authority. 

His research informs a broader interest in qualitative political economy, that is, the often unforeseen social consequences or economic change, and vice versa, and how they manifests at the level of politics and armed conflict. 

Prior to his time at St Andrews, Thomas lived and studied in Cairo, Egpyt for three years, earning his master's at American University in Cairo, where his master's thesis won the Tawfik Doss award for the best thesis produced from the Poltical Science Department.  He maintains a keen interest in the domestic politics of Egypt and the international relations of the Middle East and North Africa. 

Thomas has also conducted extensive fieldwork in Mali, where he investigated the effects of the migrant smuggling economy on the country's protracted conflict.  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts, The Political Economy of Migrant Smuggling: The Case of Conflict in Mali

Award Date: 9 May 2018

Bachelor of Arts, Poltical Science/ History, University of Kentucky

Award Date: 9 May 2013


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