Jared Cohen, an American Jew, (born November 24, 1981 in Weston, Connecticut) is the Director of Google Ideas, an Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously he served as a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and a close advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and later Hillary Clinton. Initially brought in by Condoleezza Rice as the youngest member in history, he was one of the few people kept on under Hillary Clinton. In this capacity, he focused on counter-terrorism, counter-radicalization, Middle East/South Asia, Youth, and Technology.
According to New York Times Magazine, Cohen was one of the principal architects of what became known as “21st century statecraft.” Prior to his work at the State Department, Cohen received his BA from Stanford University and his M.Phil in International Relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
State Department, 2006-2010
Cohen served as a Member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff from 2006-2010. He was brought in at the age of 24 years old, making him the youngest person to ever serve in this capacity. He was one of the few members of Policy Planning kept on by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and helped develop what became known as “21st century statecraft.” Beginning in April 2009, Cohen led technology delegations, which focused on connecting technology executives with local stakeholders in Iraq, Russia, Mexico, Congo, and Syria with the aim of developing new and innovative initiatives. Cohen had the third largest number of Twitter followers in the U.S. government behind Barack Obama and John McCain.
After he left the State Department, Cohen was hired as the director of Google Ideas, a new branch within Google.Google Ideas is a global initiatives think/do tank run out of New York. Cohen spearheads initiatives to apply technology solutions to problems faced by the developing world.
In the midst of the June 2009 post-election protests in Iran, Cohen sought to support the uprising by reaching out to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, urging the company to reschedule its planned maintenance of the website so that Iranians could keep tweeting. His reasoning was that, given that many other forms of communication had been blocked or shut down, Twitter was one of the only ways for people inside of Iran to get information to the outside world. He also considered it an important way for people around the world to join the protests by disseminating proxy and circumvention tools. When the New York Times broke the story, it came at a time when the Obama administration declared that there would be no meddling in Iran.
In 2008, Cohen co-founded the Alliance of Youth Movements (Movements.org) and headed its inaugural summit in New York City, a summit which was attended by April 6 Youth Movement.
The Alliance of Youth Movements mission statement claims it is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping grassroots activists to build their capacity and make a greater impact on the world.
Movement.org‘s “team” includes Co-Founder Jason Liebman, of Howcast Media.
One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide, published in 2006 by Rowman & Littlefield.
Children of Jihad: A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East, published by Penguin Books (Gotham) in 2007.