Colin Thomas-Jensen is a senior expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where he works on inclusive peace processes and international partnerships.

From 2013 to 2017, Thomas-Jensen served as senior policy advisor for Africa to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and as deputy director of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations’ Washington, D.C. office. From 2010 to 2012, he worked at the Department of State as the special advisor to the special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. Earlier in his career, Thomas-Jensen worked in the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID, including as a humanitarian responder in Darfur, Sudan in 2004 and in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.

Thomas-Jensen has held senior research and policy positions with the Center for American Progress, where he helped found the Enough Project, and at the International Crisis Group. In 2017 and 2018, he was a member of the U.N. Panel of Experts for South Sudan. His research and analysis have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Current History, the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe, and the Yale Journal of International Affairs.

Thomas-Jensen served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia and Mozambique and has traveled extensively throughout Africa. He is a graduate of Pomona College and has a master’s in African studies from the University of London’s School for Oriental and African Studies. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his two daughters.

Publications By Colin

Mozambique’s Crisis Requires a New Playbook to Fight Extremism

Mozambique’s Crisis Requires a New Playbook to Fight Extremism

Thursday, December 3, 2020

By: Leanne Erdberg Steadman; Bethany L. McGann; Colin Thomas-Jensen

Over the past three years, a local Islamist insurgency in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado has grown in strength and viciousness, developing ties with international terrorist groups and threatening one of the world’s largest natural gas projects. The insurgency is turning Cabo Delgado into a killing field. While many Americans are increasingly wary of overseas counterterrorism commitments, there is increasing consensus among experts that the conventional, militarized counterterrorism responses that have dominated in the post 9-11 era are failing, particularly in Africa. The situation in Mozambique is an opportunity to reorient such efforts through addressing the underlying drivers of conflict and extremism.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism; Fragility & Resilience

Six Things to Watch at the U.N. General Assembly

Six Things to Watch at the U.N. General Assembly

Monday, September 21, 2020

By: Colin Thomas-Jensen; Tyler Beckelman

This year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting, happening against the backdrop of the 75th anniversary of the U.N.’s founding, was supposed to be a major milestone—a moment for world leaders to reflect on the organization’s pursuit of peaceful international cooperation since the devastation of World War II, and to consider how the multilateral system should evolve to tackle the 21st century’s biggest challenges. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the traditional in-person gathering at the U.N.’s headquarters in New York City. This UNGA will be a much more muted affair, with participants using the same videoconferencing technology to which we have all become accustomed in 2020. But the challenges facing the international system are as pressing and complicated as ever. As UNGA goes virtual, here are six issues to watch.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

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