My research project concerns the legitimacy and sovereignty of states and non-state actors in "tribal" societies, particularly in South Arabia. More specifically, the project investigates the relationships between tribes, religious elites and the state, especially where these relationships were altered by large-scale interventions from outside actors and ideologies, or by the discovery of natural resources. I believe that proper understanding of these relationships will have a bearing on the development of location-specific approaches to a variety of societies and contribute to a fairer distribution of humanitarian aid and development funds. I am also interested in the research of desertification, revival of grasslands through improved livestock management practices, access to land for small-scale farmers and the dynamics of rural life. These issues are relevant across the globe and directly affect public health; yet not enough is currently being done to reverse desertification, improve the condition of our grasslands and return farming families into the countryside.I am thankful for the opportunity to join the Gates Cambridge community of scholars. I appreciate the Trust’s mission and very much look forward to the beginning of the academic year.