James A. Cohen

Chief Executive Officer

United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien


James Cohen joined the UJF Team in April 2013 as Chief Executive Officer.  In that capacity, Jim reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization, overseeing all aspects of the Federation’s work.  This includes all fundraising and grant distribution activities, Federation educational and community events, services provided to recipient agencies as well as facilitating the work of over a hundred volunteers and supervising the staff.  Jim has spent a good deal of time since his arrival reshaping UJF’s message, the way in which the organization reaches out to donors and volunteers and helping to create new models for fund development and granting.


Immediately before coming to Stamford, Jim served for five year as Assistant Secretary of the University for International Affairs at Yale University.  He was responsible for the coordination of university activities in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, working closely with the university’s leadership and representatives from all of Yale’s constituent schools to promote Yale abroad, build partnerships around the world, and to attract students and scholars to Yale.  He also advised the Yale Corporation and the President’s Council for International Activities.


Prior to his appointment at Yale, Jim spent ten years as a career diplomat in the Foreign Service of the United States Department of State.  He served as Deputy Political Counselor in Quito, Ecuador, as a member of the Secretary of State’s Executive Secretariat, as Political-Military Affairs Officer in Sarajevo, Bosnia and as Staff Assistant to the US Ambassador to Egypt.


Jim sits on the Board of Directors of the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic.  He is a Fellow of Yale’s Saybrook College and previously sat on the Advisory Board of the Council for Middle East Studies at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.  He received a BA (with highest honors) in History from Emory University and a Masters in the History of International Relations (with two distinctions) from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  He lives in Stamford with his wife Lisa and their two young children, Jonathan and Dahlia.