Barry Jacobs has degrees from the University of Michigan, the National War College and George Washington University and has done graduate study as a Monroe Scholar at the London School of Economics. His long diplomatic career with the United States Information Agency included assignments in Greece, Cyprus, Venezuela, Israel, India and El Salvador.
Jacobs was involved in the Salt II negotiations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. While stationed in Cyprus, he was the director of the American Cultural Center in Nicosia, where he organized programs to attract members of both communities to peaceful cooperative activity. During 1980-1984 he was a Public Affairs Officer with the American embassy working closely with the Jerusalem Consulate General and Palestinian Arabs. Jacobs traveled extensively throughout the West Bank and worked to develop activities that brought together Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. He also played an active role in promoting harmony in the village of Neve Shalom. From 1985-1988, he supervised a large multicultural staff of 43 composed of members of India's main religions, castes and ethnic groups. In his final assignment from 1988-1990, Jacobs was in charge of the public diplomacy efforts which led to a negotiated end of El Salvador's decade-long, bloody civil war. His work has twice received the USIA’s highest awards, plus awards from the governments of El Salvador and Venezuela.
Since leaving the USIA in 1994 to work in the private sector, Jacobs has been a consultant to several multinational corporations and director and vice president of the Discovery Channel. He is currently employed by the American Jewish Committee where he is director of strategic studies, and also serves as associate director of AJC’s Asia and Pacific Rim Institute.