The Institute for Middle East Peace and Development Partners in Peace


Board of Directors


Key Staff

Stephen P. Cohen, President, IMEPD 


Dr. Stephen P. CohenProfessor Cohen in his library

Founder and President

Stephen P. Cohen is a Harvard-trained social psychologist who has focused his career on citizen diplomacy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  His success has been made possible by his extraordinary ability to communicate with both kings and radical extremists—and be trusted by both.  In 1979 Dr. Cohen founded and has since been President of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development, which remains his institutional base to serve as facilitator and private intermediary in peace-making and peace-building.  He has pioneered too many efforts to list here, but suffice to say that he has worked with the highest levels of government and business leaders in creating innovative programs, not only in promoting peace, but economic development and social justice. 

Dr. Cohen is widely credited as a major behind-the-scenes influence in several of the most important and successful peace initiatives in the Middle East.  He created the first secret official negotiations between Israel and the PLO years before Oslo under the supervision of Chairman Arafat and Shimon Peres, launching the premier intermediaries of Israeli Prime Ministers and Yasser Arafat until the collapse of the peace process in the second intifada.  He is a senior member of the United States group engaged in off-the-record US/Syria dialogue.  He was the founding president of the foundations of Charles Bronfman, and he was the first President of S. Daniel Abraham's Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation.  He also co-founded The Business Group for Middle East Peace and Development, co-chaired by Lester Crown. 

Dr. Cohen served as a behind-the-scenes confidant of Israel's Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat in the launching of the peace process.  He set up the first meetings between Shimon Peres and Sadat and between Yitzhak Rabin, Peres and Abba Eban with the leaders of Egypt’s National Democratic Party.

Dr. Cohen has developed close relations with Israeli leaders from all major parties, including Labor and Likud, religious and secular.  On the Arab side, he has close relationships with heads of state, foreign ministers, and leading figures in almost every Arab state, including the deceased leaders, King Hussein, King Hassan and President Assad, as well as the current President of Egypt, President Mubarak, and the new successors of key states such as Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Yemen and the Gulf States.  He has a long history of transcending the limitations of particular partisan views and so has become a trusted ally to participants from all perspectives and has established unparalleled relationships and friendships in both Israel and the Arab countries. 

View Stephen P. Cohen's publications. 











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