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Thomas P. Sheehy

IAC member
Thomas P. Sheehy is a member of Afrobarometer’s International Advisory Council.


Thomas P. Sheehy is a distinguished fellow in the Africa Center of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). He examines the role of China in Africa and the impact of natural resource development on peace and development on the continent.  In 2020, he served on the USIP senior study group that produced the report “China’s Impact on Conflict Dynamics in the Red Sea Arena” and is currently the lead on a similar effort focused on critical minerals in Africa.  

Before joining USIP, Sheehy held several staff positions on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, including most recently as staff director, responsible for its overall operations, and as staff director of its Africa subcommittee, which focused on conflict resolution, economic development, and natural resource conservation, among other issues. The subcommittee pressed for the successful apprehension and trial of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor and promoted peace and stability in war-devastated Liberia and Sierra Leone.

With the committee, Sheehy worked on several pieces of legislation that have defined U.S. policy toward Africa, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Electrify Africa Act, the BUILD Act, and the Global Fragility Act. He served as an election observer for national elections in Kenya and Nigeria.

He was an Africa policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation before working in Congress. At the think tank, he co-developed the Index of Economic Freedom, an annual survey of national economies worldwide, now in its 25th edition. He frequently appeared in national media and testified before several congressional committees.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut) and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Virginia.

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