Cohen, Saul Bernard

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COHEN, SAUL BERNARD (1925– ), U.S. geographer and educator. Cohen, the son of a Hebrew teacher, was born in Malden, Mass., and studied at Harvard University, where he obtained his doctorate in 1955. He taught at Boston University from 1952 to 1964, and in 1965 became the director and a professor of the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. In 1967 he became the dean. He served as president of Queens College of the City University of New York (1978–85), and then for ten years as professor of geography at Hunter College, also of cuny. Among his many appointments was that of coordinator and co-chairman of the United States–Israel Geographic Research symposium held in Jerusalem in 1969. A member of the American Geographical Society, Cohen specialized in the economic and political geography of the Middle East. He was a visiting professor at the U.S. Naval War College and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and served as consultant on geography to the National Science Foundation. His fieldwork took him to Israel, Puerto Rico, Sweden, and Venezuela.

Cohen served on numerous government committees devoted to educational improvement. From his arrival in New York in 1978, he was involved in various city and state policy committees. He was elected to the New York State Board of Regents in 1993 and chaired the Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Committee when it established new academic standards for the schools (1995–98). He chaired the Regents Committee on Higher Education and led the effort to reform teacher education.

Cohen received awards from the Association of American Geographers (1965 and 1979). In 1990 and 1992 his work was recognized as Best Content Article by The Journal of Geography. In 1994 the National Geographical Society named him Distinguished Geography Educator, and in 1998 he received the Rowman and Littlefield's Author Laureate Award.

In 2004 Cohen received an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa. Acknowledged for having laid the foundations for the field of political geography, he was praised for "his wide-ranging and in-depth scientific contribution to the study of political geography; his educational and public activity to advance the teaching of geography; his societal involvement and dedication to the Jewish community in the United States; and his support of academe in Israel."

He was editor of The Oxford World Atlas (1973), served as geographic consultant for the fifth edition of The Columbia Encyclopedia (1993), and was editor of The Columbia Gazetteer of the World (1998). Among his publications are Geography and Politics in a World Divided (1963, 1964, 1973); American Geography – Problems and Prospects (1968); Jerusalem – Bridging the Four Walls (1977); Jerusalem Undivided (1980); The Geopolitics of Israel's Border Question (1986); and Geopolitics of the World System (2002).

[Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]