Brain Trust Member


Kilian Kleinschmidt

Global Networker and Humanitarian Expert, Founder of IPA, Innovation and Planning Agency



Kilian Kleinschmidt believes in the power of connectivity and that we can fix it all through better and more effective access of the disadvantaged populations and fragile regions to the immense wealth of knowhow, technologies and finance we have accumulated collectively. It is his conviction that the global brain and the collective resilience grows with every connection made successfully solving a challenge and seizing an opportunity.

Kilian is an international networker, development and migration expert with 30 years of experience in a wide range of countries, emergencies and refugee camps as United Nations official, Aid worker and Diplomat. He is the CEO of the startup Innovation and Planning Agency (IPA) of the 21st century through its project “IUMEE United Resources powered by SWITXBOARD. He is currently developing and advising a number of ventures which aim at sustainable investment and social impact in very fragile environments. His work on emerging cities, Special Development Zones and urbanization of refugee camps is widely recognized as the way forward dealing with mass migration, population shifts and transformation of society. He is challenging the Humanitarian Aid Sector through a range of new and unorthodox partnerships, technologies and ways of financing building on networking and swarm intelligence rather than hierarchies and ineffective bureaucracies.


He 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. His career included positions as Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Deputy Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan, 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 Minister of Interior on Refugee reception centres. Most recently he was a Special Advisor to the German Minister of Development on Refugee issues and innovative partnerships (2016) and advising Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern on migration issues in Africa.

He is a public speaker and coach and has published three books - “Weil es um die Menschen geht” (ECON 2015) , “Beyond Survival” (Dumont-Mair 2016) and “Tod dem Helfer” (Dumont-Mair 2017) and authored a number of articles on refugee and migration issues. He is a renowned public speaker in conferences, TEDx and other events.