Jared Cohen

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Jared Cohen is the 30-something director of Google Ideas, the largest search engine’s think/do-tank. He is a visionary among visionaries, foreseeing a world where technology plays a big part in governance and diplomacy. Young as he is, Jared was given a critical post during President George W. Bush’s tenure under the mentorship of then-Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Jared was one of the few staff members retained when Hillary Clinton succeeded Condoleezza during President Barack Obama’s presidency. While in government, he pioneered technology delegations and taught the White House to leverage technology in diplomacy and international relations.


Why Jared Cohen is Extraordinary

Jared Cohen joined the State Department’s Policy Planning team when he was in his mid-twenties and made such a huge impact that from being known as the Secretary of State’s think-tank, Policy Planning is now called a think/do-tank. He introduced technology delegations, which basically provide an avenue for policy makers and technological experts to meets and help solve issues with the help of information technology and modern communication tools. Just recently, Jared co-authored a book with Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman. He joined the most popular search engine company in 2010 as the first director of its think-tank called Google Ideas.

A Football Player and an Artist

Jared developed an early fascination for international affairs. It could be traced back to the time his paternal grandmother told the young boy of her exploits in Cuba and Iran. Indeed, Jared soon grew up making his own story in those places and in many more countries. In high school, Jared was not only an eloquent student, he was also popular because of his athletic skills. He used to be their school’s football team’s star player. When he’s not playing, Jared paints. However, neither of those hobbies outweighed his love for politics.

A Rhodes Scholar and the Youngest Staff in the Policy Planning Team

Africa is probably one of the closest places to Jared’s heart. In fact, when he first visited the country, he fell in love with its language. He insisted that his parents get him a Swahili tutor. Jared ended up speaking not only Swahili but also Arabic and other Persian languages.

After completing his degree at Stanford, Jared fortunately won a Rhodes scholarship which enabled him to go to Oxford. Other than his academic achievements, Jared got to prove that there was more to him than his geeky side. He went to Iran and met with the most dreaded terrorist groups and saw their non-threatening side.

It later on shaped his broader understanding of cultures and how the young generation in Muslim countries were being used by extremists in their crusade to topple the US government. In 2006, Jared was given more opportunity to influence his country when he was hired by Condoleezza Rice as one of her staff in the Policy Planning team—the think-tank of the State Department. His knowledge about middle-east culture coupled with his profound understanding of technology and its power had Jared introduce technology delegations as another way of influencing young people to see more of the world through partnerships with technological companies. These companies agreed to accept these youngsters as interns.

Other than technology delegations, Jared also helped Hillary Clinton in her 21st Century Statecraft initiative that aims to leverage technology in the realm of diplomacy and international relations. His 300,000 Twitter followers proved just how big the waves he was making then. He has also called for Twitter’s maintenance work to be delayed when its maintenance schedule fell on the day before the national elections in Iraq.

Directing Google Ideas

Beginning 2010, Jared started directing Google Ideas, the largest search engine’s think-tank. The young director is positive that what he was not able to do in the government, he will be able to realize in Google. Akin to Policy Planning, “Google Ideas is a think/do tank that explores how technology can enable people to confront threats in the face of conflict, instability or repression. We connect users, experts and engineers to research and seed new technology-driven initiatives.” (Source: Google Ideas)

Technology is here to stay and will further influence our way of life as it becomes more advanced. Jared keeps us hopeful that the young generation can handle the responsibility of having such a powerful weapon at their disposal.

Top Reasons why Jared Cohen is Extraordinary

  1. He was the youngest member of the State Department’s Policy Planning team during the time of Condoleezza Rice.
  2. He was a Rhodes scholar.
  3. His Stanford thesis won the Hines Prize and was turned into a critically-acclaimed book, “One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide.”
  4. His second book, “Children of Jihad: A Young American's Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East," was based on the findings he has made when he went to Iran as a graduate student of Oxford.
  5. The third book he wrote was a collaboration with Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, titled "The New Digital Age: Re-shaping the Future of People, Nations and Business." It became a New York Times bestseller.
  6. He has written several articles about technology and its effect.
  7. He pioneered the technology delegations in the White House to bring policy makers and technology entrepreneurs together in order to maximize the use of technology for diplomacy.
  8. He is Google Ideas’ first director.
  9. He was named by TIME as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
  10. He has about 300,000 followers when he was still serving in the Policy Planning team, making him the third most follower political figure in the US next to Barack Obama and John McCain.

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