Dr Eline van Ommen

Dr Eline van Ommen


I am a historian of Latin America in the twentieth century, particularly interested in revolutions, transnational and grassroots activism, and foreign policy during the Cold War. I have published on the international and transnational history of Nicaragua’s revolutionary decade, European solidarity activism, and Central American-European relations.

My latest book, entitled Nicaragua Must Survive: Revolutionary Diplomacy in the Global Cold War traces the efforts of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional [Sandinista National Liberation Front, FSLN] in Nicaragua to gain external support in a rapidly changing global context. It argues that the Sandinistas’ innovative diplomatic campaign captured the imaginations of people around the globe, resulting in a dense web of contacts between Nicaragua and the outside world. The book shows that these interactions went far beyond elite politics, as thousands of musicians, politicians, teachers, activists, priests, feminists, and journalists flocked to this small Central American country to experience first-hand how the revolution unfolded. At the same time, Sandinista diplomats traveled across the world in search of allies as they were faced with an increasingly hostile United States. Pragmatically calculating that Western European involvement in Central America could tip the regional power balance in their favor, the FSLN specifically reached out to European activists and governments. Starting with the tumultuous period leading up to the overthrow of the dictatorship on 19 July 1979 and ending with the electoral loss of the FSLN on 25 February 1990, the book reveals the opportunties and limitations that the international environment offered to a small revolutionary state in Central America.

I am currently developing a new research project on the Central American peace process and the end of the Cold War. I am also interested in Latin American Revolutionary Left’s connections to national liberation movements in the Global South.

I obtained my BA at the University of Groningen before moving to the London School of Economics (LSE) to do my MSc and PhD in International History. Prior to being appointed as a lecturer in the School of History at the University of Leeds in 2021, I was a lecturer at the University of Utrecht. Before that, I taught courses on Latin America and the Cold War at the LSE.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in International History (LSE)
  • MSc in International History (LSE)
  • BA in History (University of Groningen)

Professional memberships

  • Latin American Studies Association (LASA)
  • Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
  • American Historical Association (AHA)
  • UK Latin American Historians Network (UKLAH)

Student education

I teach courses on Latin American revolutions in the twentieth century, Central American history, historical skills, crisis and contention, and modern history.

Research groups and institutes

  • Empires and Aftermath
  • Health Histories
  • Politics, Diplomacy, and International History
  • Centre for Global Health Histories

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>