Universiteit Leiden

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Sielke Kelner


Dr. S.B. Kelner Ph.D.
+31 71 527 6437

Dr. Kelner is a Swiss National Science Foundation postdoctoral researcher at the Leiden University Institute for History. She earned her Ph.D. in international history from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland (2018). A former visiting fellow at the Harriman Institute (2017) and at the Elliott School of International Affairs (2018), she has worked on Romania´s role in the Arab-Israeli peace process, and US-Romanian emigration agreements during the Cold War. She is currently working on Christian NGOs' involvement in Communist Romania.

More information about Sielke Kelner

Fields of interest

Cold War; transnational history; history of international organizations; transatlantic relations; Eastern Europe. 


The central theme of Dr. Kelner´s current project is the generation and transformation of the transnational network constituted by Western Christian organizations and religious dissidents to the Communist regime in Romania. Combining a national and a transnational historical approach and tracing the encounters of western and eastern activists, this project proposes an in-depth case study aiming at informing on the origin of this network, its flourishing, and evaluating the mutual influence of these two groups as a product of circulation of ideas and personal connections throughout changes of regimes. It focuses on a dual analysis which encompasses both the perspective of the Western actors involved as activists and missionaries in the promotion of religious freedom and the evangelization of local communities in Romania; as well as the agency of local religious leaders that Western actors considered at once human rights activists and modern-day martyrs.

Grants and awards

Swiss National Science Foundation, Early Post Doc Mobility, 2020-2021 
German Historical Institute Short Term Fellowship, 2019 
Virginia University, Albert Gallatin Fellowship, 2017-2018 
LSE IDEAS - Mladena and Dianko Sotirov Visiting Fellowship, 2016

Curriculum vitae


Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland 
Ph.D. International History, Feb. 2019 

Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy 
M.A. International Relations, March 2012 

Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy
B.A. Political Science, Nov. 2009

Key publications

Publications in peered-reviewed scientific journals:

Sielke Beata Kelner, Dagli archivi di Bucarest: la reazione del Partito Comunista Romeno all’istituzione della Repubblica Islamica dell’Iran “Nuova Rivista Storica”, September 2013, Volume XCVII, pp. 477-502

Contributions to books:

Sielke Kelner, The Reagan Administration and the Promotion of Human Rights in Eastern Europe: The Case of the Romanian Emigration 1981-1989, in New Perspectives on the End of the Cold War, edited by Bernhard Blumenau, Jussi Hanhimaki, Barbara Zanchetta, Routledge Press, 2018, (chapter 8, pp. 159-186)

Sielke Beata Kelner, Ceausescu e la questione arabo-israeliana: una riflessione sulla politica estera romena, in Europa e Medio Oriente (1973-1993), edited by Gianvito Galasso, Federico Imperato, Rosario Milano, Luciano Monzali, Cacucci Editore, 2017, (chapter 15, pp. 339-362)

Other publications:

Ceausescu and the Six Day War: The View from Washington and London, Sources and Methods - A blog of the History and Public Policy Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2017 https://www.wilsoncenter.org/blog-post/ceausescu-and-the-six-day-war-the-view-washington-and-london  

La Repubblica Popolare Cinese, l’Unione Europea ed il dibattito sui diritti umani, in: Belt and Road Initiative opportunità e e minacce per il sistema Italia, Intellego, 2019 https://www.intellego.it/servizint/  


  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • History and International Studies

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 0.18b


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