Leyla Tiglay

Leyla Tiglay

Leyla Tiglay

Ph.D. Candidate, History


Areas of Expertise

  • International Security
  • Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
  • History of Decolonization in Africa and the Middle East
  • History of Technology and Environment
  • History of U.S. Foreign Policy
  • International History of Africa
  • History of Europe in the World
  • Environmental Justice and Colonialism


  • MA Political Science, Boston University (2018)
  • MA International Studies and Diplomacy, University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (2015)
  • BA International Relations Istanbul University, School of Political Science (2003)

Leyla Tiglay is currently an Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs (2022-2024). She is a Ph.D. candidate at The Ohio State University, Department elf History, specializing in the intersections between the international history of decolonization, technology, and environmental studies. Her research extends across the international history of Africa, U.S. foreign policy, and France's colonial empire. Previously, Leyla received predoctoral fellowships from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Bush School of Government's Center for Grand Strategy.

Leyla’s dissertation delves into the role of decolonization crises in shaping early Cold War nuclear politics and the existing international nuclear order. Her research focuses specifically on the nexus of decolonization in Africa, France's nuclear testing in the Sahara, and anti-nuclear movements within the context of Great Power diplomatic efforts, such as the late 1950s' and the early 1960s’ disarmament negotiations. This project also unveils underexplored aspects of colonial and postcolonial African history, especially as it relates to nuclear issues on the continent.

Her research integrates bottom-up historical movements in the decolonizing world with high-level nuclear policy decisions. As a scholar with a multidisciplinary approach, Leyla aims to blend elements of international history, technological studies, environmental history, intelligence history, and international security studies.

Leyla’s research has garnered support from various institutions, including the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin, the Wilson Center Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, the Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation, and the Ohio State University's Society of Fellows Program. Before embarking on her doctoral journey, Leyla worked and studied in several countries, including Türkiye, Belgium, Cameroon, and the United Kingdom.