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Former Secretary of Defense William Sebastian Cohen established the William S. Cohen Center for International Policy and Commerce in 1996. Following his retirement from Congress, after 24 years serving the people of Maine, Secretary Cohen chose to donate his congressional papers to the state’s flagship institution of research and higher learning, the University of Maine in Orono, Maine.

The Cohen Center is actively conducting and producing quality research on issues of international significance. The Center’s current research focus is US-Russia relations and what the future may hold for this complicated relationship. The project is titled “U.S.-Russia Relations: Through the Lenses of the Cohen Papers” and is expected to be completed in the Summer of 2015.

The Cohen Center’s research, programs and resources continue to benefit historians, students, faculty, public servants, the business community, and the general public. Working with the University’s School of Policy and International Affairs and other University partners, the Cohen Center seeks to increase awareness about international issues that affect each and every one of us. It is expected that the Cohen Center will become an integral part of the University’s new Institute for Leadership and Democracy.

The various education and community outreach programs that the Cohen Center has produced to date draw upon the experiences and expertise of the University’s international student and faculty population, and employ interdisciplinary approaches to deliver workshops, seminars, and short courses designed to promote success within an increasingly globalized world.

The biennial Cohen Lecture Series, which as become one of the most anticipated events at the University of Maine, showcases the exceptional speakers and other resources the Cohen Center has to offer. Recent Cohen Lectures have featured Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (1998), Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (2000), Senator John Glenn (2001), Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (2003), Journalist Dan Rather (2005), Journalist Bob Woodward (2007), U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (2009), National Security Advisor James Jones, General (Ret.), USMC (2011), and most recently Senator Alan Simpson (2013). Other hallmarks of the William S. Cohen Center for International Policy and Commerce include the research associated with the collection, scholarship and special programs held on campus and across the state of Maine, and the Cohen-SPIA internship program

The Cohen Center is closely affiliated with the University’s School of Policy and International Affairs (SPIA). SPIA offers a 2 year graduate program in Global Policy with concentrations in International Environmental Policy, International Security and U.S. Foreign Policy, and International Trade and Commerce.