Allen Toney

Jared Cohen, author of Children of Jihad: A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East and the youngest member of Secretary of State’s Policy planning staff, will be speaking on behalf of the Arabic Club at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 in 102 Benton Hall.

The Arabic Club of Miami University has decided to bring Cohen here to discuss life as it relates to the youth in the Middle East.

Due to the War in Iraq, religious differences as well as other factors, vice president of Arabic Club Matthew Kalayjian said he feels the typical Miami student has a skewed perception Arab people.

Kalayjian said he hopes Jared Cohen, who is a Jewish-American, will use his book and knowledge from his travels to help alleviate these misconceptions about Middle Eastern culture.

Kalayjian emphasized that the event is not political, and Cohen will not be speaking on behalf of the State Department.

“This is not at all a political event-we are not a political club, and rather than focusing on the major political issues about the Middle East, which all too often drives wedges between the debating factions, Cohen will be focusing on promoting a culture of understanding and acceptance,” he said.

To facilitate that understanding and acceptance for Middle Eastern society, Cohen will be drawing on his personal experience from his travels to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Dealing more specifically with the youth movement in the Middle East, Cohen will primarily discuss his book and how technology and globalization are the keys to bringing the American and Middle Eastern youth together.

“Cohen takes particular interest in outlining everything that our own youth majority can do to shape opinions, influence engagement and restore America’s image from their college dorm rooms,” said Cohen’s publicist, Stephanie Rudat.

Cohen graduated from Stanford University in 2004 and received his masters from Oxford University in 2006 where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. As of 2006, Cohen currently works for the U.S. Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff under Condoleeza Rice. He is responsible for counter-terrorism, counter-radicalization, youth and education, public diplomacy, Muslim world outreach and the Maghreb, a region in Northern Africa.

Kalayjian encourages students to come out this Thursday to listen and learn about fellow young people in the Middle East. Rudat said that understanding the positions of the Arabic world are the first step toward building relationships.

“Young people in the Islamic world, who may very well have an impact on all of our futures, are reachable-and they could be waiting to hear from us,” Rudat said.