Edward Thomas has worked in Sudan and South Sudan as a teacher, human rights worker, and researcher. A specialist on Sudan, he is the author of South Sudan: A Slow Liberation (Zed Books, 2015) as well as Islam’s Perfect Stranger: The Life of Mahmud Muhammad Taha, Muslim Reformer of Sudan (I.B. Tauris, 2010) and The Kafia Kingi Enclave: People, Politics and History in the North-South Boundary Zone of Western Sudan (Rift Valley Institute, 2013). He is currently working on a social history of Islamism in Sudan. Diwan met with Thomas in early August, at a conference in Beirut organized by Carnegie, to get his perspective on ties between Sudan and South Sudan.