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Navigating identities, from Poland to Berlin: Getting to know Kasia Siemasz



As of March 2024, Senior Fellow Kasia Siemasz serves as the National Director of Humanity in Action Germany. Please join us in welcoming her into the new role by diving into our latest “Getting to know” piece!

Currently living in Berlin, Kasia grew up in Poland, with Krakow being her favorite city. There, she completed her first undergraduate degree, before going on an Erasmus to Sweden during her second bachelor studies. “I chose Sweden because I was interested in feminist perspectives and high representation of women in the parliaments in the Nordic countries,” Kasia explained her choice, adding she continues to find Swedish culture fascinating.

Kasia’s interest in European cultures and affairs only grew, and so for her graduate studies she selected a Double Degree in European Studies program offered jointly by Krakow’s Jagiellonian University and the University of Vienna. “I’m fluent in Polish, German, and English. My Swedish is getting rusty…” Kasia answered with a laugh when asked about how she managed to live and study in three different countries by the time she graduated university.

What does it mean to me to have two citizenships?”

However, calling multiple countries “home” can be complicated. Having gained her German citizenship not long ago, Kasia has only recently begun to unravel the roots of her identity. “What does it mean to me to have two citizenships,” she often asks herself, acknowledging she continues to feel close to her Polish roots. “Even though I’m fluent, I still have an accent when speaking German,” she smiled.

Her Polish upbringing has also undeniably influenced her interests. From a young age, Kasia has been working with Germans, Israelis, and Poles on remembrance projects for youth. She visited Israel many times, and found interest in the difference between German and Polish memory of the Holocaust.

Kasia helped fostering discussions on gender equality in Poland.

Aside from her youth-focused work, Kasia further engaged with the feminist movement. During her master’s studies in Vienna, she collaborated with a group of advocates to start the feminist platform “Codziennik Feministyczny.” As a volunteer, she translated texts into Polish and assisted with their communication management, effectively fostering discussions on gender equality in the country.

In addition to all this experience, Kasia also participated in the 2015 Warsaw Fellowship! She remembers the great energy, an Equality parade which the Fellowship joined, but mostly gaining a lot of new perspectives on the issues of feminism as well as migration and remembrance. Furthermore, this was the first time that Kasia got to work with Americans. “I remember being  impressed with their dialogue structure,” she noted, reflecting that it might result from different education systems and university cultures.

Finally, during the Fellowship, the then-only-10-years-old Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN served as a hub for the participants. The venue became a favorite place of Kasia’s. “Learning about the museum on the spot, not only its content but also the political and societal debates leading to and following its opening, and meeting the people who contributed to its inception, was truly enriching and special,” she revealed. She continues to visit the place whenever she is in Warsaw.

The approach of systemic coaching is based on identifying and activating resources as well as recognizing one’s strengths and growth…”

Additionally, alongside her current work, she is currently completing a two-year education as a systemic coach. The skills she has acquired proved to be beneficial not only in her professional life, when navigating team dynamics or organizational changes, but also in exploring her own relationships, communities, and cultural contexts. „The approach of systemic coaching is based on identifying and activating resources as well as recognizing one’s strengths and growth. I feel that our society and culture often focus much on deficits – in that context a systemic approach can be very refreshing.”

I just lifted 100kg for the first time!”

When not working or reading, Kasia is honing a new skill: weightlifting. “I just lifted 100kg for the first time,” she shared excitedly. Furthermore, every year in May, she follows Eurovision. “I once went to Israel and watched the show live from there,” Kasia admits, revealing an authentic enthusiasm about the upcoming season.

If you would like to meet with Kasia for a coffee in Berlin (or on Zoom!), feel free to reach out!

“Of course, I will definitely find time to watch,” she laughs. Indeed, spring and summer will be busy for the Humanity in Action Berlin team, as they prepare for and run the summer Fellowship. “I am so excited to work on this exceptional program and to soon meet our Fellows,” Kasia said, adding she looks forward to working with more country offices, too. “My goal in this new role is to build upon the great foundation laid so far and to help the (Senior) Fellow community flourish.”

“I love meeting all the people in the network. If you would ever like to meet for a coffee in Berlin (or on Zoom!), feel free to reach out,” Kasia emphasized. You can get in touch with her via LinkedIn or email.

Kasia, we are honored to have you with us!