Kathryn McKenzie

PhD Researcher

Kate’s research focuses on how conflict resolution models can be used to overcome barriers for vulnerable populations to participate in ocean governance development. Vulnerable communities, women and children in low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change, overexploitation, and pollution on the oceans. Through her research, Kate seeks to investigate the role of dispute resolution mechanisms to support the empowerment of vulnerable communities, women and children, including traditional knowledge and indigenous peace-making approaches, to contribute to management practices and decision-making on ocean conservation, sustainable use of marine resources and the blue economy.

Kate’s most recent activities include:

  • Delivering sessions in South Africa, Ghana and Fiji on mediation and conflict resolution as part of the inception phase of the One Ocean HUB, a £20 million programme funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI GCRF) aimed at tackling threats to the world’s oceans and transforming the global response to these urgent challenges.
  • Participation as a research assistant on an international climate change litigation project led by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance in collaboration with the University of Geneva, including presenting on the project at a climate change summit in Aarhus, Denmark in July 2018.

Kate recently completed her LL.M. in Global Environmental Law and Governance at the University of Strathclyde. Before joining the Centre, Kate worked as a conflict resolution professional focusing on mediation and inter-organizational relationship building and conflict prevention.

After completing her law degree in the United States, Kate first worked as a criminal defence attorney, then as in-house counsel for a labour union in the United States. In her work as in-house counsel, Kate focused on legislative and political issues, worked on developing, maintaining, and advancing broad coalitions of unions and a labour management partnership between 28 local unions and one major employer, covering over 100,000 employees. After leaving her work with labour unions, Kate focused on building her own mediation, conflict resolution/avoidance firm and has worked as a consultant for major employers in the healthcare industry, has acted as a neutral for labour and management disputes and union elections. In addition to her consulting work, she also co-led a mediation practice using a co-mediation model for high conflict divorce and custody mediation.

Kate holds a Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio and a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Voice Performance form The Boston Conservatory of Music. Kate was the 2018 recipient of the Colin Donald Environmental Law Prize.