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Kilian Kleinschmidt

Expert on Humanitarian Aid
Social Entrepreneur


Motivation & Leadership


Crisis Management



Kilian Kleinschmidt is an international networker, humanitarian and refugee expert with over 25 years of experience in a wide range of countries, emergencies and refugee camps as United Nations official, Aid worker and Diplomat. He is the founder and Chairman of the start-up Innovation and Planning Agency (IPA) which aims at connecting the millions of poor and disadvantaged with relevant and under-utilized resources and modern technologies of the 21st century. He is part of a number of initiatives and Projects which aim at global connectivity through better use of globalization. He developing a number of ventures which aim at sustainable investment in very fragile environments.

He most recently became known as the “Mayor of Za'atari" when he managed the refugee camp of Za'atari in Northern Jordan from 2013-2014 on behalf of UNHCR. Za'atari has become a symbol for new and innovative approaches in refugee and humanitarian management under his leadership. He is now challenging the Humanitarian Aid Sector through a range of new and unorthodox partnerships, technologies and ways of financing. His work on emerging cities and urbanization of refugee camps is widely recognized and team building and leadership in crisis situations are a focus of his work.

Previous senior roles included Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Deputy Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan, Acting Director for Communities and Minorities in the UN administration in Kosovo, Executive Secretary for the Migration and Refugee Initiative (MARRI) in the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and many field based functions with UNHCR, UNDP and WFP. He worked extensively in Africa, South Eastern Europe, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and during the European refugee crisis advised the Austrian Ministry of Interior on Refugee reception. Most recently he was a Special Advisor to the German Minister of Development on Refugee issues.

He has published two books and authored a number of articles on refugee and migration issues. He is a renowned public speaker in conferences, TEDx and other events.


  • Management of Complex Structures and Crisis Situations
  • Leadership and Teambuilding
  • The Linkage of Private and Public Players
  • Innovative Concepts for the Global Challenges of the 21st Century
  • Cities of the Future
  • Urban development and Slums
  • Humanitarian Aid, Development Policy, Migration and Refugees, Human Rights
  • Migration and Integration


  • Tod dem Helfer (mit Sören Kitteln), 2017
  • Beyond Survival: Flucht. Ankunft. Zukunft. Kinder erzählen ihre Geschichte (mit Jenny Schuckardt), 2016
  • Weil es um die Menschen geht, 2015

Press & more

Migranten zu Mitbürgern – Befreiungsschritte von Kilian Kleinschmidt und Joachim Rücker
Kilian Kleinschmidt schreibt in F.A.Z. Plus gemeinsam mit Joachim Rücker unter dem Titel „Migranten zu Mitbürgern“ über die notwendigen „Befreiungsschritte“, um die Menschen in Flüchtlingslagern aus ihrer häufig trostlosen Lage zu befreien.

“Mayors will rule the world” – Interview mit Kilian Kleinschmidt
Kilian Kleinschmidt hat eines der größen Flüchtlingscamps der Welt geleitet. Nun schlägt der Entwickungsexperte vor, Urbanisierung neu zu denken. Ihm schwebt der Bau einer neuen Stadt am Horn von Afrika vor. Lesen Sie hier das komplette Interview.

Kilian Kleinschmidt im Interview

Kilian Kleinschmidt spricht im Interview mit dem Deutschlandfunk unter anderem über die Lage in Libyen sowie über die Situation der Flüchtlinge in Jordanien, dem Libanon und der Türkei. Er spricht auch die Notwendigkeit von Investitionen in die Folgen des Klimawandels an, denn Dürren gäbe es in Afrika mittlerweile weit häufiger. Lesen Sie hier das gesamte Interview mit Kilian Kleinschmidt.