Kevin Klyman is from Evanston, Illinois. He is graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Applied Mathematics and Political Science, with concentrations in Computer Science and International Relations. His honors thesis in Political Science, for which he received the Owen D. Young Prize in International Relations, is titled “Accounting for Political Tensions in Post-Cold War Sino-Mongolian Relations.” Kevin plans to attend law school and to become an international human rights attorney. His interests in international affairs include nonproliferation of weapons of war, forced displacement of civilians in combat zones, and peacebuilding initiatives.
While studying at UC Berkeley, Kevin has been a staunch advocate for affordable housing. As Chair of the student government’s housing commission, he was the spokesperson for over 30,000 undergraduates in negotiations with policymakers at the state and local level concerning housing policies. Kevin’s writing on the subject of affordable housing has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle. Kevin’s work on housing issues has included his role as Co-Director of Renters’ Legal Assistance, a student group that informs tenants regarding their legal options and connects them to law firms. At Renters’ Legal Assistance, Kevin assisted many Bay Area tenants facing eviction, harassment, and discrimination. In addition to participating in housing-related groups, Kevin was the Co-President of the Debate Society of Berkeley, a Senior Editor of the Berkeley Political Review, and a research assistant in the Political Science department on projects investigating the causes of forced displacement in civil wars and public opposition to government-led affordable housing projects in the Bay Area.
Kevin has sought to reduce housing insecurity through local political change. While working in the office of Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, Kevin developed legislation relating to housing and homelessness. Several of his ordinances were unanimously adopted by Berkeley’s city council. His legislation increased both Berkeley’s funding for eviction defense and community benefits associated with neighborhood development plans. Kevin also served as the Director of Staffing, Media, and Operations for the campaign for ballot measures O and P in the City of Berkeley. Both ballot measures were approved by voters in November 2018, resulting in a $135 million investment in affordable housing in Berkeley.
Kevin has worked to limit the proliferation of internationally banned weapons as a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C. His reports detailing the illegal use, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster bombs were published by Cluster Munition Monitor in 2018 and his findings were subsequently presented at the United Nations.
As a Gardner fellow, Kevin hopes to help to mitigate military conflicts by working with an organization that pursues peacebuilding initiatives and assists victims.