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Stephen P. Cohen

Senior Fellow Emeritus - Foreign Policy, The India Project

Stephen P. Cohen was a valued member of the Brookings family for 21 years, from 1998 until his death following an illness on October 27, 2019. Steve was appointed senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program in 1998, publishing seven books and several papers analyzing security and foreign policy in South Asia during his time at Brookings. He was the first American scholar to work in the field of South Asian security studies, largely defined the field, trained many of its leading analysts, and was himself its most experienced and insightful practitioner. He also developed specific policy interests in nuclear proliferation, disaster management, and the application of technology to the prevention or mitigation of terrorism. In recognition of his pathbreaking scholarship and policy impact, in 2017 Steve was named senior fellow emeritus by Brookings.

"Steve was a teacher, mentor, and colleague to generations of policy specialists and academics — both inside Brookings and in the field, and in the United States, India, and many other countries. He will be sorely missed by this Institution, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult moment," said Brookings President John R. Allen in the wake of Steve's passing.

Strobe Talbott, Brookings distinguished fellow, said: “Steve’s accomplishments ranged long and wide — scholar, teacher, and policy-planner in the State Department — and a guru for his many admiring friends in South Asia.”

Prior to joining Brookings, Steve was a faculty member at the University of Illinois from 1965 to 1998 in the departments of political science and history. He served as a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State in 1985-87. During Steve’s career, he also taught in India, Japan, and Singapore, and in 1992-93 he was scholar-in-residence at the Ford Foundation, New Delhi.

Stephen P. Cohen was a valued member of the Brookings family for 21 years, from 1998 until his death following an illness on October 27, 2019. Steve was appointed senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program in 1998, publishing seven books and several papers analyzing security and foreign policy in South Asia during his time at Brookings. He was the first American scholar to work in the field of South Asian security studies, largely defined the field, trained many of its leading analysts, and was himself its most experienced and insightful practitioner. He also developed specific policy interests in nuclear proliferation, disaster management, and the application of technology to the prevention or mitigation of terrorism. In recognition of his pathbreaking scholarship and policy impact, in 2017 Steve was named senior fellow emeritus by Brookings.

“Steve was a teacher, mentor, and colleague to generations of policy specialists and academics — both inside Brookings and in the field, and in the United States, India, and many other countries. He will be sorely missed by this Institution, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult moment,” said Brookings President John R. Allen in the wake of Steve’s passing.

Strobe Talbott, Brookings distinguished fellow, said: “Steve’s accomplishments ranged long and wide — scholar, teacher, and policy-planner in the State Department — and a guru for his many admiring friends in South Asia.”

Prior to joining Brookings, Steve was a faculty member at the University of Illinois from 1965 to 1998 in the departments of political science and history. He served as a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State in 1985-87. During Steve’s career, he also taught in India, Japan, and Singapore, and in 1992-93 he was scholar-in-residence at the Ford Foundation, New Delhi.

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