Jared Cohen is a Renaissance man in the world of technology. He’s an author, a geopolitical advisor, the director of Google Ideas, and a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, in addition to having served on the staffs of both Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton. He’s also just 31 years old. Condi Rice said of Cohen, “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.” In addition to playing an instrumental role as an advisor of US policy in Iran and throughout the Middle East, Cohen was on the ground in the 2011 Egyptian revolution during Mubarak’s overthrow, presumably as an on-the-ground orchestrator of revolutionary social media. He also played an important role in keeping Iran’s Twitter service open during the 2009 protests that took place in the country, of which he was an adamant supporter.
For those unfamiliar with Google Ideas, the project is a think tank started by Google in 2010 with a focus on technology and global initiatives. Ideas also deals with governance problems within weak and failing governments. Interestingly enough, Google considers Ideas a part of its business operations rather than a philanthropic appendage, despite its focus on technology applications within the development sector. As a director, Cohen’s primary aim has been to apply technological strategies to healthcare and other sectors within the developing world. On a related note, Cohen led several delegations under Hillary Clinton in the hopes of setting up partnerships between technology executives and stakeholders in countries like Syria, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. What a guy.