Alex Thurston holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Northwestern University in the Islam in Africa track. His dissertation focuses on Islamic scholars and activists in postcolonial Northern Nigeria. Other research interests include the intersection of Islam and politics in the Sahel region, ties between Africa and the Arab world, and American foreign policy toward Africa. Thurston holds an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and was a Fulbright Scholar in Senegal in 2006 to 2007. He writes about politics and religion in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa on his Sahel Blog and has contributed to Foreign Policy, The American Interest, World Politics Review, and the Christian Science Monitor website.