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Jared Cohen: Don’t Pursue Ideas With Obvious Conclusions

About this talk

Drawing on his extensive research into radical extremism, Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen launched a new program that will bring together former militants and extremists from around the world to foster an “intellectual collision.” Through his narrative, Cohen shares the importance of unstoppable passion, the value of misperceptions, and why we shouldn’t mind being called crazy.

Jared Cohen, Director, Google Ideas

Jared Cohen is the Director of Google Ideas and an Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2006 to 2010 he served as a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and a close advisor to both Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, where he was not only the youngest member of Policy Planning in history, but also one of the few appointees kept on in both administrations.

He was one of the principal architects of what has become known as “21st century statecraft”, which is a new approach to foreign policy that leverages and harnesses the power of connection technologies and new stakeholders for defense, diplomacy, and development. Prior to his time in government, Cohen traveled extensively throughout Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Afghanistan, where he spent time interviewing terrorists from groups like Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda to better understand the recruitment process, the nature and root causes of radicalization, and the dynamics between the terrorist groups and the communities they live in.

He is author of several books including One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide and Children of Jihad: A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East.

Comments (20)
  • custom essays

    Figting with terorrists via google i think extremists not morons to “make intellectual conclusions” with militars so thats for sure not great idea!

  • Geoff Talbot

    I love the title of this presentation. Love it. Too often we plan out a creative project in detail right to the end and it become uncreative.

    Ideas worth pursuing are always shrouded in mystery so I would encourage others to check out Jared’s stuff.

    We must be creative in all areas of life, especially in conflict resolution.

    Seven Sentences

  • Byebyebrain

    Let me try to summarize this talk in a single sentence. We have a person branding himself as Google Director (of Ideas?) on stage, talking all the time about his previous “experience” as civil servant in the State government presenting us all mistakes of that same government as his own wins and learning platform to teach the world around about creativity processes? Whiskey Texas Foxtrot?

  • Terry B. Gardner

    Very inspiring. thank you.

  • Patryk Les

    Bravo! 🙂

  • Amy

    Wow very interesting. Thanks for posting to show it to us who missed the conference!

  • Paganonthego

    Interesting talk but he seems not to have found extremists in Israel so I doubt that any of the survivors will be Palestinians who have a lot to add to the conversation.

  • Alexander Bickov

    Great presentation

  • paper writing service

    Really great video! As always! Thank you!

  • Mohamed Sabri Metwaly

    i really like this vedio its so intersting to me . Jared ceator  as usuale 

  • Huh?

    Kinda random…the big idea from Google on terrorism is to fly in retired extremists for a 3-day sit down, create a You Tube channel and a bunch of slick marketing videos?  If it were that easy, will Google take on racism, poverty and pandemics next?

  • Jonathan Gaurano

    I just started looking at this blog. I love it! 

  • jmcvearry

    Amazing story and greatly insightful into solving serious entrenched problems in society, business..etc..

  • policy wonk


  • Babs_baloo

    As an educator working with at risk youth for more than ten years and a student of religions, it was great to hear someone with “a voice and ability to impact society”  put into words what I have observed for more than ten years.  Young people need and want a community and will join the community that accepts them and their flaws as well as guidance.  Some of the accepting communities are religions (cults) and gangs.  Others may include music, art, gaming, drugs and other groups of interest.  It is unfortunate that some people choose self destructive groups and relationship to to have a sense of belonging. I am reminded of a psychology experiment with a monkey that was put into a cage.  At one end of the cage was a bottle, but no warmth or nurturing, at the other was warmth and affection, but no food.  The monkey became emaciated.  It chose warmth and affection…to lost souls, gangs and groups that offer affirmation and an emotional sense of belonging are better than a home that offers criticism, pain, and conditional love and no emotional support.  I loved this presentation!!

  • sanderss

    You have to start somewhere. Feel free to jump on board.

  • Hopefrance

    Yes! Yes,

    Very wise, I like the idea…obviously 😉

  • Stephan Luke Gregoire

    I’m a missionary who dreams to transform the drug violence here in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico… this video is invaluable for me.

  • Klaudden

    Corporate social responsibility sounds great but most of the time, in my oppinion its more like corporate hypocrisy. 

    Usually in most social systems those who leave the group become stigmatized. I don’t see those “young extremest” beeing too moved by these kind of people. Maybe you should bring their families, friends and people they cared about. Several cases would fire up the empathy to others in those groups. The tears of a mother missing her son, or a baby pronouncing the name of his father would move even the “hard core” members.

  • Wise King

    The problem isn’t at risk alienated youth serving as cannon fodder. It has always been that way.
    The problem is that an enormous, powerful, state/petrol funded Islamist terrorist network exists to recruit them and is run by our Arab “allies”

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