Ira Magaziner grew up in New York and first came to Rhode Island as a student at Brown University. He graduated in 1969 as valedictorian of his class.
As an undergraduate student activist, Ira was instrumental in changing the curriculum at the Ivy League school. He subsequently attended Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar. There he met future president Bill Clinton, with whom he formed a lifetime friendship.
Magaziner eventually returned to Rhode Island. He worked as a business consultant and formed two companies. Telesis, headquartered on Dorrance Street in Downtown Providence but with offices in several of the world’s capitals, serviced private corporations, government entities, and major, industrialized nations. In the early 1980s Magaziner also spearheaded one of the most progressive economic development plans in Rhode Island history. Called the Greenhouse Compact, the study called for research and investment in emerging industries and technology. He later co-authored an influential report with two U.S. Secretaries of Labor about skills and wages. In another book, The Silent War, he examined global business competitiveness and included accounts of several Rhode Island enterprises.
In 1993 Ira answered a call from President Clinton to serve as Senior Advisor for Policy Development. He focused on the commercialization of the Internet and a national health care reform initiative, working closely with Hillary Clinton. He also served on the National Domestic Policy Council and worked to increase the U.S. export market.
Since leaving the White House in 1998, Ira has chaired the Clinton Climate Initiative and the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS program, with its focus on Africa. In 2014, Magaziner is the Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), which works to save lives in low and middle income countries by helping people gain access to essential medicines and health services. Magaziner also manages certain projects of the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), which seeks to cut costs for renewable and energy efficient technologies.
Ira also is CEO of SJS advisors, a consulting firm, which currently advises a number of private companies including Corning Glass, with whom he worked prior to the Clinton Administration.
He serves on innumerable boards and commissions, particularly of a charitable nature, both locally and nationally. In recognition of his varied efforts and achievements, Ira has received a number of honorary doctoral degrees. Presently he resides on Poppasquash Point in Bristol with his wife Suzanne and their three children, Seth, Jonathan, and Sarah.