World Policy Institute – Global Information Society Project


Project Activities:

· October 2005 – The project’s inaugural article “Privatizing Foreign Policy” is published in the Fall 2005 issue of the World Policy Journal.

– November 2005 – New York Project Launch and Reception

– December 2005 – Washington D.C. Reception and Discussion

For more information about the project, to be notified about upcoming events, or to send your feedback please e-mail: Michael Cohen at or Maria Figueroa Kupcu at

Project Overview

The Privatization of Foreign Policy Project seeks to examine of the role of non-state actors in the shaping and execution of US Foreign Policy.

Non-state actors, from individuals to corporations and organizations, have often weighed in on the decisions of states in foreign policy matters. However, a number of dynamics — increasing limitations on state power, a revolution in communication technology, and the ongoing process of economic and political liberalization — have allowed non-state actors to become increasingly vital and active in critical facets of international relations.

It can be argued that while the era from 1648-1991 represented largely the era of the nation-state; the period from 1991 to the present represents increasingly the era of the non-state actor.

The motivations behind these actors’ efforts vary greatly · from altruism to economic considerations and even ideology – creating significant dilemmas for policy makers on fundamental questions of accountability and transparency . Examples abound:

  • American political consultants exporting U . S . -style campaign techniques.
  • International lawyers bringing civil suits on behalf of U.S. victims of terrorism.
  • Corporations involved in socially responsible initiatives across nations.
  • Wealthy p hilanthropists taking on transnational issues, such as global health, with private resources .

While others have noted this phenomenon, what is lacking is an examination of the issue from the macro-oriented framework. In particular, few have studied the sub-set of Ûmarket-driven non-state actors« and the significance of their impact on foreign policy.

The goal of the Privatization of Foreign Policy Project is to document the increasingly influential role of non-state actors across different arenas of the foreign policy process and explain its consequences for both policymakers and private actors alike.

Michael A. Cohen, is Co-Director of The Privatization of Foreign Policy Project. Mr. Cohen brings a wealth of experience as both a writer and observer of foreign policy. He previously served in the U.S. Department of State from 1997 -1999 as chief speechwriter for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson and Undersecretary of State, Stuart Eizenstat. He also worked as the chief speechwriter for Senator and then-DNC Chairman, Chris Dodd. Before that he worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as well as Foreign Policy magazine, and for the past four years, he has been a freelance speechwriter and consultant for a number of corporate and political clients.

Mr. Cohen has ghostwritten two books–one a memoir of a prominent Democrat political consultant the other ÛIn the Campaign Trail« a history of U.S. Presidential campaigns. He is currently writing a biography of former Yugoslav Prime Minister, Milan Panic.

In addition, Mr. Cohen is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from American University and a Master’s degree from Columbia University.

Maria Figueroa Küpçü, Co-Director of the Privatization of Foreign Policy Project, specializes in strategic market research and the development of international political and corporate advocacy campaigns. As a Senior Director at the consulting firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates she advised candidates in the U.S., Ukraine, South Korea, Serbia, and Zimbabwe as well as executives of multi-national corporations.

From 1998-2000 she was Assistant Director at the Council on Foreign Relations, one of the leading foreign policy think thanks in the U.S. Previously, she worked as a poverty and development analyst for the United Nations in New York and in Turkey including positions with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Center for Human Settlements (UNCHS) . In 1995, she co-founded the international advocacy network ÛYouth for Habitat II« and was a principle organizer of the involvement of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in UN policy making on social development issues.

Ms. Figueroa Küpçü holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Tufts University and a Master in Public Policy in International Trade and Finance from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.