Founder of Proximity for Justice, vision architect Delia Cohen specializes in turning extraordinary ideas — involving the arts, cutting-edge technology, and new media — into reality. The common theme of her projects? They all attempt to make the world a better place.
Notable endeavors include running the messaging department at the Clinton White House during impeachment and transition; helping organize the first and second Clinton Global Initiatives; producing Richard Avedon’s last work, a photo-essay on democracy for The New Yorker; rebranding Goldie Hawn’s education foundation; managing Nokia’s $1million global investment challenge; and pulling together in 15 months an extremely ambitious TED Prize project — a global film event called Pangea Day.
However, Delia’s most interesting, challenging, and rewarding work has been in criminal justice reform. For the last decade, Delia has been leveraging her unique network of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, correctional leadership, activists, entertainers, and entrepreneurs to organize TEDx events in prisons around the United States. With Delia’s guidance, incarcerated people, correctional officers, prison administrators, and community members collaboratively plan and curate each event. Following Bryan Stevenson’s call for advancing justice through proximity, half of the attendees are community leaders and half are incarcerated. Numerous attendees have found the experience unforgettable and transformative, spurring a wave of criminal justice activism and philanthropy. Shared on the TEDx YouTube channel, videos from the prison events have gone viral across the globe and comprise an unprecedented archive of authentic voices and ideas for criminal justice reform.
Delia lives in upstate New York in an 18th-century Dutch Colonial farmhouse with her dog Buddy.