With more than 800,000 asylum seeking refugees coming to Europe in 2015 only, the global refugee crisis has become one of the most sensitive and highly discussed topics of our time. The movement of undocumented migrants from various Middle East and African countries to the Mediterranean region that started in 2007 has now reached a critical point and evoked what is now called the European Refugee Crisis. The continent has proved itself not being politically, economically and culturally ready to deal with the influx of refugees who are seeking after humane living conditions and shelter from Syria, Afghanistan, Mali and other tense conflict areas. Dealing with the chaos of the sudden migration has been an ongoing concern and challenge of the European Union and other European countries.
As a European youth initiative, “My Europe” must be receptive and objective to the problems and challenges that regard our continent. Therefore, we organised a Live Chat with a man who has almost longlived experience and expertise on the matter: Kilian Kleinschmidt.
Mr. Kleinschmidt, the son of two teachers, grew up in Berlin, Germany. He did not become the “Good Samaritan” in an instant. Kilian Kleinschmidt started off as a carpenter and arguably found his calling for humanitarian work at the age of 26, after an aid worker invited him to help build a school near Timbuktu during Kleinschmidt’s motorbike trip to Mali. He has contributed his life and career to humanitarian purposes ever since.Mr. Kleinschmidt has been an active member of the United Nations and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for 25 years during which he developed an impressive list of achievements as a humanitarian aid worker. In between his work in Uganda, Kenya and Bosnia, Kilian Kleinschmidt helped organize a camp for the so called ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’ who were displaced and orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War; has been a liaison and a coordination of UNHCR operations in the Great Lakes Region which has long been exhausted by civil war and conflict; coordinated one of the largest humanitarian airlifts in history for Rwandans caught in the rain forest in Congo to name only a few. All of his hard work, charisma and tireless persistence has earned him the nickname of a “Crisis Manager” in aid circles. Maybe because of this binding title Kilian Kleinschmidt was offered another challenging position the Senior Field Coordinator or as he calls it “the International Mayor” of the second largest refugee camp of Za’atari in Jordan.
Read below to find out about his views on the refugee crisis and how it can be dealt with differently.