Jared Cohen

Jared Cohen

  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia For the eighth President of Carnegie Mellon University, see Jared Cohon. Jared Cohen Cohen at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Vanity Fair Born November 24, 1981 (age 32) Nationality American Ethnicity Jewish Alma mater Stanford University Oxford University Employer Google Organization Google Ideas, Council on Foreign Relations Jared Cohen (born November


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the eighth President of Carnegie Mellon University, see Jared Cohon.
Jared Cohen
Jared Cohen 2011 Shankbone crop.JPG

Born November 24, 1981 (age 32)
Nationality American
Ethnicity Jewish
Alma mater Stanford University
Oxford University
Employer Google
Organization Google Ideas,
Council on Foreign Relations

Jared Cohen (born November 24, 1981) is the Director of Google Ideas[1] and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.[2] Previously, he served as a member of the Secretary of State‘s Policy Planning Staff and as an advisor to Condoleezza Rice and later Hillary Clinton.[3] Initially brought in by Condoleezza Rice as a member of the Policy Planning Staff, he was one of the few staffers that stayed under Hillary Clinton.[4] In this capacity, he focused on counter-terrorism, counter-radicalization, Middle East/South Asia, Internet freedom, and fostering opposition in repressive countries.[5] According to The New York Times Magazine, Cohen was one of the participating architects of what was labeled in 2010 as “21st century statecraft” along with Richard Boly and several foreign service officers in the Department of State’s Office of eDiplomacy [6][7][8] In 2013, Cohen was named by Time Magazine as one of its 100 most influential people.[9]

Early life and education

Cohen was born in Weston, Connecticut.[10][11] Cohen received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 2004, majoring in history and political science and minoring in African studies.[12] He subsequently earned a master’s degree in International Relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.[13][14]


Before graduating college, Cohen pursued interests in government and in mass media. He was an intern at the U.S. State Department. In 2004, he was a miscellaneous member of the crew for one episode of a PBS Frontline documentary “Ghosts of Rwanda” on the 10-year anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.[12][15]

U.S. State Department

Following his internship and graduation, Cohen served as a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff from 2006 to 2010. He was 24 years of age. His service began under former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,[16] during the Bush Administration.

In her book No Higher Honor, Condoleezza Rice writes of Cohen:

When he [Steve Krasner] came to the State Department, Steve brought together a terrific staff of ‘young guns’ to push new ideas. One of his most inspired appointments came in 2006, when he hired the twenty-something Jared Cohen, who’d been a student at Stanford and had taken a four-month sojourn on his own in Iran. He would use his position at Policy Planning to begin to integrate social media into our diplomatic tool kit. That would pay off handsomely some years later, when Twitter and Facebook became accelerants of democratic change in the Middle East.[17]

Cohen was one of the few members of Policy Planning kept on by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He played a role in helping shape counter-radicalization strategies and advised on US policy towards Iran and the Middle East. Beginning in April 2009, Cohen aided delegations focused on connecting technology executives with local stakeholders in Iraq, Russia, Mexico, Congo, and Syria.

In the midst of the June 2009 protests in Iran, Cohen sought to support the opposition in Iran. He contacted Twitter, requesting that the company not perform planned maintenance that would have temporarily shut down service in Iran, because the protestors were using Twitter to maintain contact with the outside world. According to The New Yorker Ryan Lizza, “The move violated Obama’s rule of non-interference, and White House officials were furious.” In an interview with Clinton, she “did not betray any disagreement with the President over Iran policy,” but “cited Cohen’s move with pride.”[18]

While serving on the Policy Planning Staff, Cohen became an advisor to Richard Holbrooke, who was the first Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He took several trips with Holbrooke to Afghanistan, where he helped develop some of the early strategic communications strategies.[19]

Cohen was among the early adopters of social media in the U.S. government. In April 2010, Cohen had the third largest number of Twitter followers in the US government, behind Barack Obama and John McCain.[8][10] By Sept 2013, he was not in the top 20.[20]


Cohen left the State Department’s Policy Planning staff on 2 September 2010.[21] On 7 September 2010, Cohen became an adjunct senior fellow at The Council on Foreign Relations focusing on counter-radicalization.[21] He was hired as the first director of Google Ideas, a new branch within Google in mid-October 2010.[22]


Cohen is author of three books.

The New Digital Age

His most recent book is co-authored with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, entitled The New Digital Age: Re-shaping the Future of People, Nations and Business.[23] The book became a New York Times bestseller in its first week of publication, in May 2013.[24] The book considers the geopolitical future when 5 billion additional people come online, and the presumed terrorism, war, identity theft, conflict and altered relations between nations that results. It grew out of an article, “The Digital Disruption”,[25] which was published in Foreign Affairs magazine in November 2010. It suggests that technology would rewrite the relationship between states and their citizens in the 21st century, and was possibly prescient about the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that followed in 2011.[26]

Julian Assange wrote critically of the book:

[It] proselytizes the role of technology in reshaping the world’s people and nations into likenesses of the world’s dominant superpower, whether they want to be reshaped or not. The prose is terse, the argument confident and the wisdom — banal… This book is a balefully seminal work in which neither author has the language to see, much less to express, the titanic centralizing evil they are constructing.[27]

Another critical review by Evgeny Morozov in The New Republic stated:

Schmidt and Cohen dispatch their quirky examples in such large doses that readers unfamiliar with the latest literature on technology and new media might accidentally find them innovative and persuasive. In reality, though, many of their examples—especially those from exotic foreign lands—are completely removed from their context. It is nice to be told that innovators at the MIT Media Lab are planning to distribute tablets to children in Ethiopia, but why not tell us that this project follows in the steps of One Laptop Per Child, one of the most high-profile failures of technological utopianism in the last decade? Absent such disclosure, the Ethiopian tablet project looks much more promising—and revolutionary—than it actually is… Just a modicum of research could have saved this exercise in irresponsible futurology, but living in the future, Cohen and Schmidt do not much care about the present, which leads them likely to overstate their own originality… This reveals only how little they know about the world of reporters and NGO workers who actually work in places such as Burma, Iran, and Belarus.[28]

Early books

Cohen’s first book, One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide, was published in 2006 by Rowman & Littlefield and chronicles U.S. policy toward Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide.[29]

His second book, Children of Jihad: A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East, was published by Penguin Books (Gotham) in October 2007 and has also been published as an audio book and translated into Dutch and Italian.[30]

He and co-author Eric Schmidt published “The Dark Side of the Digital Revolution” in the Wall Street Journal in 2013,[31] and a 2012 article for The Washington Post, entitled “Technology Can Be Harnessed to Fight Drug Cartels in Mexico,” which grew out of a trip the two took to Ciudad Juárez.[32][33]

Other activities

Cohen has been involved in the Tribeca Film Festival, serving as a juror in multiple categories over a number of years.[10][34][35] Cohen serves on the Director’s Advisory Board at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).[citation needed]


  1. Frequently Asked Questions at Google Ideas
  2. Weintraub, Seth (15 August 2010). “Google to open ‘Google Ideas’ global technology think tank”. Fortune. CNN Money. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  3. Larson, Christina (7 September 2010). “State Department Innovator Goes to Google”. Foreign Policy. Retrieved 7 May 2013.(registration required)
  4. Last, Jonathan V. (17 August 2009). “Tweeting While Tehran Burns”. Weekly Standard 14 (45). Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  5. Lichtenstein, Jesse (5 November 2007). “Condi’s Party Starter”. The New Yorker. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  6. “IRM Office of eDiplomacy”. State Department. Retrieved Sep 5, 2013.
  7. “21st Century Statecraft”. State Department. Retrieved Sep 5, 2013.
  8. Lichtenstein, Jesse (16 July 2010). “Digital Diplomacy”. The New York Times Magazine.
  9. Isaacson, Walter (18 April 2013). “The 2013 TIME 100”. Pioneers: Jared Cohen, Idea man, 31. TIME magazine. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  10. Schmitt, Rick (May–June 2010). “Diplomacy 2.0”. Stanford Magazine. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  11. Dumas, Timothy (April 2011). “Digital Diplomat”. Greenwich Magazine. Moffly Media. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  12. Trei, Lisa (3 December 2003). “Campus celebrates two Rhodes, five Marshall winners”. Stanford Report (Stanford University). Retrieved 19 August 2012. “””He is effectively besotted with Africa…” said history Professor David Kennedy, one of Cohen’s teachers”
  13. “Jared Cohen (California & St John’s 2004)”. Recent Appointments and Awards for Rhodes Scholars. The Rhodes Trust. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  14. “Cohen, Jared (Biography)”. Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary » Policy Planning Staff » The Staff » Cohen, Jared. Cohen, Jared (Biography) Released by the Office of Policy Planning. 12 April 2010. Archived from the original on 20 January 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  15. Jared Cohen at the Internet Movie Database Jared Cohen additional researcher – 1 episode, number 444 of 670.
  16. Allen McDuffee (2 December 2011). “Google’s Jared Cohen named among 2011 ‘Top American Leaders’”. Think Tanked. The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 March 2013. “A former aide to Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Cohen…”
  17. Rice, Condoleezza (2011). No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington. New York: Crown Archetype. ISBN 978-0-307-58786-2.
  18. Lizza, Ryan (2 May 2011). “How the Arab Spring remade Obama’s foreign policy”. The New Yorker. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  19. Rozen, Laura (29 April 2009). “The Cable: Planet Holbrooke and envoy nation”. Foreign Policy. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  20. “Twitaholic top 100”. Retrieved Sep 28, 2013.
  21. Larson, Christina (7 September 2010). “State Department Innovator Jared Cohen Goes to Google”. ForeignPolicy.com. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  22. Eric Schmidt; Jared Cohen (16 October 2010). “The Digital Disruption”. The Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 19 March 2013. “Jared Cohen is Director of Google Ideas. He is an Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations”
  23. Vascellaro, Jessica E. (11 July 2011). “Google’s Eric Schmidt Feels Pressure of His Book Deadline”. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  24. “Best Sellers Hardcover Non-Fiction May 19, 2013”. The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  25. Schmidt, Eric (1 November 2010). “The Digital Disruption”. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  26. Donnan, Shawn (8 July 2011). “Think again”. Financial Times. FT.com. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  27. Julian Assange (1 June 2013). “The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’”. nytimes.com. New York Times. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  28. Evgeny Morozov. “Future Shlock”. Retrieved Sep 28, 2013.
  29. Cohen, Jared A. (2007). One hundred days of silence : America and the Rwanda genocide. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0742552371.
  30. Cohen, Jared (2008). Children of Jihad : a young American’s travels among the youth of the Middle East (1st Trade paperback ed. ed.). New York, NY: Gotham Books. ISBN 978-1592403998.
  31. Eric Schmidt; Jared Cohen (19 April 2013). “The Saturday Essay: The Dark Side of the Digital Revolution”. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  32. Schmidt, Eric; Cohen, Jared (17 July 2012). “Technology can be harnessed to fight drug cartels in Mexico”. The Washington Post (Opinions). Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  33. “Google Ideas INFO (Illicit Networks Forces in Opposition) Summit; July 16-18, 2012 – YouTube”. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  34. “Best New Documentary Director Competition”. Tribeca Film Festival 2012. Archived from the original on 9 August 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  35. McCracken, Kristin. “Awards Announced: 2011 Tribeca Film Festival”, Tribeca Film Festival, 28 April 2011.
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