Toon Dirkx is a PhD candidate at the University of Basel and a PhD fellow at the swisspeace Statehood program. His doctoral research is part of the research project ‘From Fragility to Resilience: Accounting for the Diversity of State-making Trajectories in Africa’, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Toon holds a MA (cum laude) in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from Utrecht University. Before joining swisspeace, he worked as a researcher at the Centre for Conflict Studies of Utrecht University on a Horizon 2020 funded research project assessing EU conflict prevention and peacebuilding. He also taught courses on the politics of post-conflict reconstruction, and continuities and changes in the use of political violence. Toon acquired fieldwork experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Guatemala. He has also done commissioned research for the Universität der Bundeswehr Munich, the Swedish Defence University, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and various non-governmental organizations. As an intern at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Colombia Toon analyzed the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC. His primary research interests include the relationships between powerful military actors and militias, the governance of armed groups in civil wars, and the interconnections between violence, interventionism, and state formation processes.