Kathryn Kylee is a mediator, facilitator, and advocate, currently based in Berlin, who is passionate about bringing divided communities together for open and constructive dialogue. Having amassed over a decade of experience in peacebuilding and human rights work across the globe, Kathryn is eager to apply her skills towards empowering refugees, migrants, and local citizens to forge mutual understanding and integrate in new ways.
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Kathryn spent her early career in the corporate world before deciding to retrain and devote her life to what she describes as her “world work”. This shift was inspired in part by Kathryn’s upbringing in the deep South during the Civil Rights Movement, which impressed on her, from a young age, the harms of marginalization and lack of voice.
While Karthyn has always been passionate about rights and empowerment – previously volunteering as guardian ad litem, as well as creating a coaching program which helped orphaned youth complete high school and obtain college sponsorships – it was only when she took early retirement that she felt truly “free to go wherever in the world I was called to go, and do whatever work was needed.”
Facilitating Integration Through Inclusive Dialogue
Kathryn first spent three years training in mediation, conflict resolution, and international coaching, before relocating to India. During her ten years there, she worked extensively on children’s and women’s rights, as well as other initiatives designed to educate, empower, and transform social dynamics. She also worked on mediation and dialogue projects in Kenya and Zimbabwe during this time. After a two-year break in Spain, Kathryn recently relocated to Berlin, drawn by the opportunity to apply her expertise to address the pressing issues faced by refugees and host communities across Europe.
In Berlin, Kathryn aims to facilitate constructive communication between refugees, migrants, and citizens to forge mutual understanding and more holistic integration. She recognizes that current refugee integration models are broken, and feels strongly that “we need to quit doing the same old things and really come up with new ideas and new ways to do things.” Kathryn believes that “true integration” requires going beyond tolerance to create real cohesion, including shared feelings safety, belonging, and mutual understanding. She stresses that in order to achieve this, migrant communities and locals must have platforms to understand their mutual expectations, fears and intentions in order to build the connections required to sustain life in community. Kathryn sees mediation and facilitation as essential in fostering the kind of safe spaces required to have these challenging conversations.
Cultivating Hope and Possibility
Moving forward, Kathryn hopes to create platforms for transformative dialogue across Berlin and beyond. She is exploring ideas like digital storytelling, Open Space Technology workshops, and innovative community engagement models with the aspiration to develop a successful prototype which responds to community needs. She hopes to expand her network within the MBBI community and work collaboratively on advancing these ventures, recognizing that “it’s through all of our little bits of collective knowledge that we create something new.”
Fundamentally oriented towards possibility, Kathryn believes in “looking forward and having hope.” At the same time, she stresses the centrality of patience, intention and process in manifesting change. She embraces “not having all the answers,” fully listening to community needs, and co-designing the way forward. Throughout 2024, Kathryn looks forward to drawing upon all she has learned so far to set her plans into motion.
Article by Natalie Dewar, MBBI Writer