Universiteit Leiden

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William Michael Schmidli

University Lecturer

Dr. W.M. Schmidli
+31 71 527 2341

William Michael Schmidli is a U.S. foreign relations historian, and his research focuses on the evolving significance of human rights, democracy promotion, and transnational advocacy networks from the Cold War to the present. He completed his doctoral degree in the Department of History at Cornell University in 2010 and has held residential fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.

More information about William Michael Schmidli


Schmidli's research interests center on U.S. foreign relations, U.S. political history, the history of human rights, and transnational activism. His first book, The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy toward Argentina (Cornell University Press, 2013), was listed as a Foreign Affairs Magazine Best Book of the Year. He has also published articles in Diplomatic History, Cold War History, and Diplomacy and Statecraft. His current book-in-progress is a study of human rights and democracy promotion in U.S. foreign relations during the 1980s. 

Grants and awards

  • Core Fellow, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Helsinki, Finland, 2016-2017.
  • Member, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, 2014-2015. 

Selected publications

W. M. Schmidli and Robert Pee, eds., The Reagan Administration, the Cold War, and the Transition to Democracy Promotion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

“Reagan’s Project Democracy and the U.S. Intervention in Nicaragua,” in the Jonathan Hunt and Simon Miles, eds., Reagan’s World: The Cold War and Beyond (forthcoming).

The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy toward Argentina (Cornell University Press, 2013).

“Robert C. Hill and the Cold War in Latin America” in Diplomats at War: The American Experience (Martin Nijhoff Press, 2013), 265-283.

“Human Rights and the Cold War: the Campaign to Halt the Argentine Dirty War,” Cold War History, Vol 12, No 2 (May 2012), 345-365.

“‘The Most Sophisticated Intervention We Have Seen’:The Carter Administration and the Nicaraguan Crisis, 1978-1979,” Diplomacy and Statecraft, Vol. 23, Issue 1 (2012), 66-86.

“Institutionalizing Human Rights in United States Foreign Policy: U.S.-Argentine Relations, 1976-1980,” Diplomatic History Vol. 35, No. 2 (April 2011), 351-377. 

University Lecturer

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • Algemene Geschiedenis

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 1.73a



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