ORONO, Maine — Retired U.S. Marine Gen. James L. Jones will visit the University of Maine on Thursday, Nov. 17, to deliver a William S. Cohen Lecture at the Collins Center for the Arts.

Jones served as the first national security adviser in President Barack Obama’s administration.

Cohen, the Bangor native who represented Maine in Congress for 24 years and also served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton administration, will participate in the discussion. The subject will be Arab Spring, a series of protests that have taken place across the Middle East and Northern Africa over the past year.

Jones graduated from Georgetown University in 1966 and was commissioned as Marine Corps second lieutenant in 1967. Jones has served the Marine Corps in several leadership roles. He attained the rank of brigadier general in 1992, was promoted to general in 1999 and was named as 32nd commandant of the Marine Corps until 2003, when he became commander, United States European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Jones also is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He retired from the military on Feb. 1, 2007, after 40 years of service. Jones’ term as national security adviser began on Jan. 20, 2009, and ended with his resignation on Oct. 8, 2010.

The lecture series is a function of UMaine’s William S. Cohen Center for International Policy and Commerce, which was established in 1997. The Cohen Center was founded to bring distinguished speakers with informed perspectives on matters related to international policy and commerce to the University of Maine.

Cohen, who is a former UMaine business faculty member, donated his collection of papers chronicling his congressional career to UMaine’s Fogler Library when the center was established, and in January 2001, Cohen donated the papers from his tenure as Secretary of Defense to the university.

Since Cohen delivered the first lecture in March 1998, several prominent public officials have participated in the series over the past decade including: Madeleine Albright during her time as Secretary of State, retired U.S. senator and former astronaut John Glenn, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, CBS News correspondent Dan Rather, Washington Post journalist and author Bob Woodward, and most recently Attorney General Eric Holder.

According to UMaine spokesman Joe Carr, the biannual events are popular with the surrounding communities with attendance for each past event nearly at capacity.

“The past events have been wonderful and we are expecting this one to be as well,” Carr said. “We have been fortunate to have such prominent officials participate in the program.”

The talk is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. and is open to the public. Free tickets are available while supplies last. Those interested in attending should call the Collins Center for the Arts box office at 581-1755 or 800-622-TIXX. Box office hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.