Lola Wilhelm

Postdoctoral Researcher FNS


Lola Wilhelm is a postdoc researcher and works on the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) Sinergia project An interdisciplinary model to explain neverending infectious diseases. The case of syphilis, from 1859 to the present.

Previously a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI)  in Florence and a visiting SNF Doc.Mobility Fellow at the University of Oxford, she holds a PhD in International History from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva (2019) and a Master’s Degree in Development Studies from the Université Paris I – Panthéon Sorbonne.

She has taught within the History Department and Executive Education Programme of the Graduate Institute and at the Department of History and Civilization of the EUI.

A specialist of the history of international development, health, and food policies, she has contributed to international popular science events on these topics (Agence française de développement, Paris ; Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam ; Bodleian Libraries, Oxford).

She has worked for humanitarian organisations as a project coordinator and an analyst, including on the Central African Republic conflicts and the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.



  • History of international organisations and multinational companies
  • History of colonial medicine, global public health, and infectious diseases
  • History of development and humanitarian relief
  • History of food and nutrition
  • Member, History of International Organizations Network
  • Research associate, Fondation Pierre du Bois pour l’Histoire du Temps Présent.




The Business of Development. Nestlé’s International Ventures in Public Health, Agriculture and Humanitarian Aid, 1880s-1970. (in preparation)



“Local Histories of International Food Aid from the Interwar Period to the 1960s”, in Dmitriev, Hauser, Orfali (eds.), Insatiable Appetite: Food as a Cultural Signifier, Brill, 2019.


“Nestlé’s Corporate Reputation and the Long History of Infant Formula”, The Global History of Capitalism Project Case Studies Series, 2019.


“International Organisations and the Evolution of Humanitarianism: Cross-perspectives on the

Commonwealth and the European Union”, The Round Table, Vol. 104, No. 4, 2015.




-       “The Pouponnière Nestlé: Archeology of a public-private partnership in public health”, Microcosms of Global Capitalism, Geneva, 3 October 2019.

-       “‘Africa must feed Africa’: Nestlé’s participation in imperial and postcolonial food engineering experiments, 1950s-1960s", Eating the World. Food and International Thought in the Twentieth Century, City University, London, 11 June 2019.