American leadership in a dangerous world the focus of UMaine Cohen Lecture April 4

“The Importance of American Leadership in a Dangerous World” will be the focus of the 2022 Cohen Lecture featuring Gen. James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Medal of Honor recipient Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter at the University of Maine on April 4.

The 11 a.m. in-person event in the Collins Center for the Arts, moderated by Felicia Knight, president of the Knight Canney Group, is free and open to the public. Registration is required by calling 207.581.1755 or going online: To request a reasonable accommodation, call 207.581.1755.

The Cohen Lecture is offered by UMaine’s Cohen Institute for Leadership and Public Service, directed by professor of political science Richard Powell and designed to model, promote and teach leadership and civic engagement through programs that reflect and honor Secretary Cohen’s public service legacy. 

Cohen, a Bangor native who represented Maine in Congress for 24 years before joining President Clinton’s cabinet, established the series when he donated a collection of his Congressional papers to UMaine’s Fogler Library. In 2001, he also donated his papers from his tenure as secretary of defense.

Cohen is CEO and chair of the Cohen Group in Washington, D.C., which provides global business consulting.

Mattis served as the 26th secretary of defense, 2017–18. During his 43 years in the Marine Corps, he commanded combat tours at the platoon, battalion, regiment, brigade, division, force and theater levels. This included command of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and the 1st Marine Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. His time in the military culminated with three years as commander of U.S. Central Command, where he oversaw joint efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and helped shape U.S. policy toward Iran. 

Currently, Mattis is the Davies Family Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where he lectures and writes on domestic and international security policy. 

Carpenter was a 20-year-old Marine rifleman in Afghanistan in 2010 when he threw himself on a grenade during a Taliban attack to save the life of another serviceman. During his three-year recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, he underwent nearly 40 surgeries. In 2014, Carpenter was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama for his self-sacrificing act. He is the youngest living recipient of the nation’s highest military award for valor. 

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Carpenter’s military awards include a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and the Purple Heart, the award for which he is most proud. 

UMaine’s Cohen Institute trains future generations of young people destined for leadership roles in a variety of disciplines to be ethical, visionary, innovative, civil, thoughtful and independent-minded in the service of Maine, the United States and the world. Its signature programs include the Cohen Lecture, direction of UMaine’s interdisciplinary minor in leadership studies, a Washington D.C. leadership program, a summer leadership program for Maine high school students and numerous other projects and initiatives. 

Contact: Margaret Nagle,