Jared Cohen, former advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and recently announced Director of Google Ideas, to deliver Fairfield University's 2010 Jacoby Lunin Humanitarian Lecture



Image: Jared CohenWhile at the U.S. State Department, Weston, Connecticut native Jared Cohen was among the most followed on Twitter of anyone working for the United States Government, right behind President Obama and John McCain. He was one of the few members of the Policy Planning Staff who worked for both the Bush and Obama administrations, serving as a close advisor to Hillary Clinton and before her, Condoleezza Rice.

No doubt people are curious to see what The Huffington Post "game changer" will do at his new job. As the Director of Google Ideas, Cohen, 28, is well on his way to becoming an architect of change as he builds a first of its kind global initiatives 'think/do tank' for the giant search engine company.

On Monday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m., Cohen, the author of the acclaimed book, "Children of Jihad: A Young American's Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East," will deliver Fairfield University's Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian Lecture. He'll turn his attention to a subject that is very important to him: sharing his perspective on trends in the Islamic world based on his travels in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestinian camps where he interviewed terrorists from various militant groups. He has conducted in depth research in some of the world's most volatile regions, and has the rare experience of having actually interviewed militants ranging from Hezbollah to Al-Qaeda. He will also explore how technology is impacting foreign policy and changing power dynamics. Cohen will be delivering this lecture in his personal capacity, where his views do not necessarily reflect those of Google.

His talk is entitled, "Children of Abraham: Muslim and Jewish Youth in Constructive Dialogue," and is co-sponsored by Fairfield's Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies and Open VISIONS Forum through the generosity of the Frank Jacoby Foundation. It will take place in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, on the Fairfield campus. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased online at quickcenter.com or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396.

The Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian Lecture coincides with the University's Year of Global Citizenship, a time for students, staff and faculty to consider their place in the world. After the talk, Ellen Umansky, Ph .D., director of the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies who is Jewish; and Martin Nguyen, Ph.D., assistant professor of religious studies who is Muslim, will join moderator Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D., professor of Visual & Performing Arts, for a discussion with Cohen about the amazing last ten years of his life that has seen him go from Weston High School student to being named the youngest member ever appointed to the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff.

Until recently, Cohen served as a close advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and before her, Condoleezza Rice. In these roles, he helped architect the vision of "21st century statecraft" and key foreign policy initiatives and strategies related to counter-terrorism, the Middle East, and how to address a growing youth bulge around the world. He was instrumental in cultivating the use of social media - including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook - to empower citizens and promote diplomacy in developing countries.

The New York Times observed of Cohen and his former State Department colleague Alec Ross: "Their Twitter posts have become an integral part of a new State Department effort to bring diplomacy into the digital age, by using widely available technologies to reach out to citizens, companies and other nonstate actors."

No wonder why FP: Foreign Policy magazine called Cohen a "State Department Innovator" and credited him for keeping Twitter from being shutdown in Iran last year for a routine scheduled maintenance during the turbulent days of the Iranian election.

Named by The Huffington Post as one of the 100 game changers of 2010 and by Devex as one of the top 40 people under than 40, Cohen believes in the power of disruption as a way to think about and act on old challenges in new and innovative ways. He recently began his new role as the director of Google Ideas at Google and is an Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he puts this vision into action.

Cohen is a two-time recipient of the Secretary of State's Meritorious Honor Award, earning this distinguished honor during both the Bush and Obama administrations. He received a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the author of "One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 15, 2010

Vol. 43, No. 78