September 8, 2010

Google Hires Former State Department Official

Google has hired a former State Department official that is credited with helping to bring social networking and other applications to U.S. diplomacy.

Jared Cohen left the State Department last week after being on the Policy Planning staff for four years.  He was a leading advocate of using the Web to engage in what has been called "21st Century statecraft."

He will head a new division at Google called "Google Ideas."

Cohen, 28, said during an interview with Foreign Policy magazine that Google Ideas is "basically a think/do tank."

"Much of the model for it is built off of my experiences on the Policy Planning staff," he said, which he described as "the secretary of state's personal start-up."

"In the same way Policy Planning works by bringing together a lot of stakeholders in government, out of government, and across different sectors, so, too, will Google Ideas do something very similar," Cohen told Foreign Policy.

"It's not designed to be, 'Let's pool all of Google's resources and tackle global challenges,'" he said.

Cohen said Google Ideas may focus on "hard challenges like counterterrorism, counter radicalization, and nonproliferation, to some of the ones people might expect it to focus on, like development and citizen empowerment."

"What I'm interested in is the SWAT-team model of building teams of stakeholders with different resources and perspectives to troubleshoot challenges," Cohen told Foreign Policy.

Google supports humanitarian causes through Google.org and other various initiatives like "Project 10 to the 100th," which is a commitment that provides $10 million in funding five ideas submitted by the public.
Cohen also led delegations of technology executives to Iraq and other countries.  He has over 300,000 followers on the social networking site Twitter.


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