Throughout a 25-year career with the UN High Commissioner on Refugees, Kilian practiced as a humanitarian expert in a wide range of countries such as Somalia, Kosovo, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. He is perhaps best and most recently known as the Director and Camp Manager of the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, the largest and most visible camp for Syrian refugees. Kilian is also a founding member of the SDZ Alliance, which is developing new cities as special jurisdiction zones with a project under development in Ethiopia. Since 2016 he is the CEO of the group of enterprises “Innovation and Planning Agency Switxboard” in Austria and Tunisia and the not-for-profit organization, IPA USA.
Throughout his career, Kleinschmidt’s practice and advocacy have pushed a consistent theme: that the ‘othering’ of refugees is toxic to our own well-being and is generally wrongheaded. Kilian believes in the power of connectivity, and that we can fix most issues through better and more effective access of the disadvantaged populations and fragile regions to the immense wealth of know-how, technologies, and finance that we have accumulated collectively. It is his conviction that the global brain and the collective resilience grow with every connection made successfully solving a challenge and seizing an opportunity.
Under Kilian’s leadership, IPA Switxboard is implementing a large migration management project “Harraga.” It is also developing a large rural farm and processing plant in South Tunisia in the region of Tatatouine. The joint enterprise is now primarily based in Tunisia, though IPA will soon be working in Libya and Cyprus.
Kilian is currently developing and advising a number of ventures which aim at innovative migration management, sustainable investment, and social impact in Tunisia. His work on emerging cities, Special Development Zones, and urbanization of refugee camps is widely recognized as the way forward in 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.