On April 2, 2019, Gilman Scholarship stakeholders gathered to celebrate the program’s legacy. Assistant Secretary of State Marie Royce introduced Gilman Alumnus, Kamaal Thomas (Hong Kong, Academic Year 2014-2015) to share the Gilman Program’s Impact on Study Abroad for Americans.
Kamaal Thomas is a cyber policy researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research focuses on critical infrastructure protection, financial stability, global supply chain integrity, and U.S.-China engagement in cyberspace. Kamaal credits his time in Hong Kong and China as a Gilman and Critical Language Scholar as influential in the development of his interests in U.S.-China relations and international cyber policy. In 2014, Kamaal studied abroad at the University of Hong Kong as a Gilman Scholar after becoming interested in the country from his two Chinese roommates at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis).
After graduating from UC Davis, Kamaal participated in a Critical Language Scholarship to study Mandarin in Changchun, China. He leveraged both U.S. State Department-funded programs to secure a fellowship in Beijing, China, where he completed graduate work at Tsinghua University and interned for the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. His fellowship led to full-time employment, where he transitioned from Carnegie’s Beijing office to their headquarters in Washington, DC. His work now focuses on working with G7 countries and international stakeholders to establish rules of the road to stabilize cyberspace. Kamaal aspires to become a civil servant and work with the government to develop a U.S. cyber grand strategy to make America the safest place in the world to be online.