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Jared Cohen

Director of Google Ideas & Advisor to the Executive Chairman Google, Inc.


Jared Cohen is the founder and Director of Google Ideas and an advisor to the Executive Chairman at Alphabet, Inc. He is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a New York Times bestselling author. Previously he served as a member of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff and as a close advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

Jared has conducted research in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, throughout Africa, and has traveled to 92 countries. As part of his research, he has interviewed members of Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and Somali pirates. In January 2013, he was one of three members of the first high-level American delegation to North Korea following the ascension to power of Kim Jong Un.

Jared is the author of four books, the most recent of which is the New York Times and international bestseller (in both hardcover and paperback) The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Business, and our Lives (Knopf, 2013), which he co-authored with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. His other books include Children of Jihad (Gotham, 2007), One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), and the forthcoming The Accidental Presidents (Simon & Schuster). He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, Foreign Affairs, and TIME Magazine.

He was named as one of TIME’s “100 most influential people.” Vanity Fair named Jared as a member of the “Next Establishment,” The Washington Post and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government named him to their inaugural list of “Top American Leaders,” and Foreign Policy listed him as one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers.” He is also one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders.

He currently serves as a member of the National Counterterrorism Center’s (NCTC) Director’s Advisory Board. He serves on the board of advisors for several companies, including ASAPP, Rivet Ventures, SineWave, and QSI. Jared also serves on the Board of Directors of the Tribeca Film Institute and is a member of the Berggruen Institute on Governance 21st century Council. He received his BA from Stanford University and his M.Phil in International Relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He speaks Swahili and has studied Spanish, Arabic, and Farsi.


The Next 5 Billion: Life in Our New Connected Age

Within the next decade, approximately five billion new people will go online. "The next five billion," as they're being called, are vastly different from the current two billion who populate the digital sphere, however. They will come from the most problematic parts of the world - regions wrought with political and economic instability - and will require drastically different customer service than the current "first world" users.

In this highly innovative and forward-thinking keynote - drawing on his book, co-authored with Google executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business - speaker Jared Cohen examines how this shift in online demographics will affect geo-politics and corporations, individuals and groups alike as businesses and financial institutions strive to understand the needs and attributes of their new customer base. This is a highly customizable presentation; Cohen will provide both a big-picture view of the coming decade as well as a granular view of the aspects that affect your organization most - whether it is the future of commerce and trade; the future of identity and citizenship; the future of revolution or terrorism; or the future of conflict and intervention.

Cyber Crimes of the Future

We witnessed a physical attack on our nation on 9/11, as terrorists forcefully hijacked aircrafts and flew them into the Pentagon and Twin Towers. We've also experienced cyber attacks on our networks, as hackers on the other side of the world inserted malicious software into systems that operate some of our critical infrastructures. Now imagine a combined physical and cyber attack.

In this gripping keynote, Jared Cohen looks to the future and predicts that in the new digital age, every state will have two foreign policies and two domestic policies: one for the physical world and one for the virtual world. And to make matters even more complicated, these physical and cyber policies will often contradict each other. Cohen shares his insights on what to expect in the future and what we can do to protect ourselves from coordinated physical and cyber attacks.

21st-Century Statecraft: A New Way of Thinking

In the 21st century, statecraft – the art of leading a country, organizations, and companies – will be as much about relationship-building as it is negotiating. Drawing on his experience both in the government and in the private sector, Jared Cohen makes the compelling argument that governments and corporations must partner in order to develop fresh new solutions to traditional problems. This collaboration and exchange of ideas between the private and public sectors provides new and innovative ways to go about solving challenges, and opens up both parties to opportunities not available without the other. As the world changes rapidly around us, the communication and sharing of ideas between private and public has never been more vital. Throughout this keynote, Cohen shares successful examples and explores the vast possibilities that these collaborations can bring about in the future.

Understanding the Technological Revolution

Jared Cohen pioneered the use of technology in America's foreign policy. Using anecdotes and insights gleaned from his years in the State Department, Cohen explains that the technological revolution is not just about new technologies: it is about how individuals use them. For example, it was Cohen who successfully led the charge from the State Department to urge the postponement of the routine scheduled maintenance of during the Iranian election protests in the summer of 2009, recognizing Twitter as the Iranians' only outlet for voicing what was truly happening in their country. It was also Cohen who led dozens of tech CEOs from Silicon Valley into the most turbulent parts of the world in efforts to connect the industry and foreign policy. In this fascinating keynote, Cohen will use stories such as these to broaden your grasp of what technology is capable of, deepening your understanding of how it can be used creatively and strategically to put you – and your business – on the cutting edge.

Harnessing the Power of Youth

Did you know that over 60 percent of the world's population is under the age of 30? Jared Cohen does, and understands that this generation is the most savvy in connection technology yet, making it also the most individually-empowered generation in the world's history. Yet governments seem to ignore the size and potential influence of this demographic, perhaps failing to understand that the future of the world depends on what happens as this global youth bulge enters adulthood.

Today, young people in democratic societies take full advantage of new technologies, finding it increasingly easy to connect to the new diplomats and change-makers of the 21st century. And where autocracy dominates, the youth of these nations will become the de facto opposition. Cohen deftly articulates this phenomenon, while outlining a path for these young people – from the world's most democratic to its most autocratic societies.

Power Dynamics in the 21st Century

According to Jared Cohen, the 21st century will be all about surprises. The relationships that exist between governments, corporations, and citizens are changing in fundamental ways that are both altering the international system and giving rise to a new world order. The conventional lines of communication that we have known for years have changed right before our eyes. The new centers of power are empowered communities, existing in every corner of the globe – from emerging markets to cyberspace. With experience in and out of government, Cohen has watched these new power dynamics unfold in emerging markets throughout the world. In this riveting presentation, Cohen introduces audiences to this fascinating phenomenon, and helps them navigate through a new world in which individual voices can carry more weight than the traditional influencers of the past.

Modern Economic Statesmanship

Across the world, corporations, industry associations, economic development councils, chambers of commerce, and more are spending tremendous amounts of resources – from goodwill trips and partnership development to lobbying and good old-fashioned money – in developing global economic relationships. Yet we are entering into a dynamic new time, with new tools, new practices, and new behaviors that are already changing world diplomacy and redefining the rules for global business relationships. Join Jared Cohen as he explores the radically evolving nature of modern economic statesmanship as seen through his experiences in changing global diplomacy, both in the State Department and as Director of Google Ideas.

Disruptive Economics: How Technology is Disrupting the Global Financial System

The global financial system has never been more complex. Crypto-currencies like BitCoin, blurred lines between businesses and governments, and a perpetual state of cyber warfare that cuts across all sectors are just the beginning of what we are likely to see on the horizon. In a world where every business – from a bank to a startup – is a technology company, we must accept that these businesses are increasingly going to be caught in the crossfire of geopolitics. The old challenges facing the world are spilling over into cyberspace, while new challenges, including large scale cyber-attacks between states, the threat of cyberterrorism, and the emergence of cyber superpowers like China and Russia, are all adding greater uncertainty to the business ecosystem and world order. Jared Cohen is uniquely positioned to talk about the disruptive technologies creating this seismic change. Having traveled to nearly 100 countries and working at a senior level in both the State Department and Google, he understand the impact that these disruptions will have on the global financial system.

Rethinking Security: Technological Disruptions, Threats, and Opportunities

All of us are increasingly splitting our time between a physical and digital world. This means how healthy we are is determined not just by our physical well-being, but also our cyber security. How strong our businesses are is not just about our market share, revenue, and product, but also about our capacity to protect ourselves. As the world comes online, we are all sharing one gigantic playground – the Internet – which means that seemingly distant geopolitical challenges like the Syrian Electronic Army, Russian troll farms, the great firewall in China, criminal rings in Nigeria, or even gamers and hobbyists have the capacity to reach us. It can feel overwhelming and at times hard to keep up and adapt. Jared Cohen has spent the past decade at the intersection of technology and security, looking at the relationship between technology and geopolitics and how it impacts our security. He has studied the tactics of some of the most formidable adversaries and has worked for more than a decade on an adaptive blueprint that is easier to implement than we may think.

The Future of Power

Access to the Internet is spreading faster than ever, promising unprecedented advances in education, economic empowerment, and personal health. Jared Cohen, the founder and director of Google Ideas, argues that while we witness unprecedented citizen empowerment, the same geopolitical challenges that have plagued our world for centuries – terrorism, war, repression, sectarian violence – are spilling over into the digital domain in ways unique and without precedent. From the Great Firewall of China to Russia’s troll armies, from the Syrian Electronic Army to ISIS’s propaganda machine, states and non-state actors are using technology to repress people and restrict free expression. Simply applying a physical-world lens to international relations will no longer suffice. Only a comprehensive – physical and digital – approach will prepare us to meet old challenges in new domains.

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