- Research Programs
- Regions & Topics
- All Publications
A nation must think before it acts.
A retired career diplomat and specialist in African and European affairs, Ambassador (ret.) Herman J. Cohen is President of Cohen and Woods International. Established in 1998, the consulting firm provides strategic planning services to African governments, and multinational corporations doing business in Africa. The firm’s main activity since 2018 has involved activities related to “Power Africa.”
Mr. Cohen retired from the US Foreign Service in November 1993. His last position prior to retirement was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993). During this period, he led negotiations that successfully ended decades-long civil wars in Ethiopia, Angola, and Mozambique.
During his 38-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service, he served in five African countries and twice in France. He was the American Ambassador to Senegal, with dual accreditation to the Gambia, from 1977 to 1980.
During assignments in Washington, Mr. Cohen also served as Special Assistant to President Reagan and Senior Director for Africa, on the National Security Council staff (1987-89), and
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research (1980 to 1984). During this period, he was the State Department’s representative on the National Intelligence Council of the Director of Central Intelligence.
After retirement from the State Department, Mr. Cohen established a consulting firm, Cohen and Woods International (CWI), for the purpose of assisting governments to improve their relations with the United States Government. In collaboration with Mr. George Denison, CWI has assisted the governments of Azerbaijan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Zimbabwe, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Liberia and Mauritania.
Mr. Cohen’s honors and awards include the French Legion of Honor, the Belgian Order of Leopold II, and the US Foreign Service distinction of Career Ambassador. In 2020, Mr. Cohen received the reward of the American Foreign Service Association for “Lifetime of Excellence in Diplomacy.”
Mr. Cohen is the author of three books: “Intervening in Africa: Superpower Peacekeeping in a Troubled Continent”. Macmillan, New York 2000. “The Mind of the African Strong Man: Conversations with Dictators, Statesmen and Father Figures”, New Academia, Washington DC, 2015. “U.S. Policy