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Norman Y. Mineta Distinguished Lecture Series

The Norman Y. Mineta Distinguished Lecture Series is a signature series centered on the leadership values and principles inspired by the late Secretary Mineta, including his commitment to public service, social justice, and strengthening US-Japan relations.

Launched by the Democracy Center in January 2024, the series will feature national leaders and voices that are creating change and shaping democracy to provoke thought and inspire change in the US. It is one of two signature Distinguished Lecture Series centered on the leadership values and principles inspired by Norman Y. Mineta and Irene Hirano Inouye.

norman y mineta headshot

“Norm was a great friend and supporter of JANM. His leadership, generosity, diplomacy, patriotism, and dedication to civil rights inspired volunteers to invest in the Museum’s vision for a place that would preserve Japanese American history and culture and America’s democratic ideals for future generations. Our lecture series brings his values to newer audiences and future generations so that people of all ages and diverse backgrounds can understand how his life’s work affects their present lives and the evolving state of democracy.” 

—Ann Burroughs, President and CEO, JANM

Past Lectures

Inaugural Lecture & Plaza Dedication

Friday, January 26, 2024 • 4 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
The Democracy Center presents the inaugural lecture in the Norman Y. Mineta Distinguished Lecture Series with special guest speaker Mitch Landrieu, former Senior Advisor to the President and former Mayor of New Orleans.

On the occasion of the inaugural lecture, we are proud to rename JANM’s historic plaza in his honor to commemorate his profound legacy, his lifelong commitment to democracy, and his profound impact on the Museum.


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About Norman Y. Mineta

Secretary Norman Y. Mineta was the former member of the JANM Board of Trustees (1996–2022) and the JANM Board of Governors (1988–1995). He also served as the chair of the JANM Board of Trustees (2015–2022) and the JANM Board of Governors (2010–2015).

He and his family were forcibly removed from their home in San José, California, and incarcerated along with 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry for the duration of World War II. The family was initially held at the Santa Anita temporary detention center in Los Angeles, and the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming.

Secretary Mineta represented his hometown of San José in the House of Representatives for over twenty years. The first Asian American appointed to a Presidential cabinet, he was named Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton in 2000 and was named Secretary of Transportation by President George W. Bush in 2001. He was recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award, in 2006. In 2012 he was awarded JANM’s Distinguished Medal of Honor.

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Norman Y. Mineta Distinguished Lecture Series

Advisory Council

Deni Mineta, Co-Chair, Norman Y. Mineta Distinguished Lecture Series
Ann Burroughs, Co-Chair, Norman Y. Mineta Distinguished Lecture Series; President and CEO, JANM
Robert M. Brantner, Captain, Delta Air Lines
David K. Mineta, President and CEO, Momentum for Health
Stuart Mineta, Captain, SkyWest Airlines
Rear Admiral Melvin H. Chiogioji, US Navy (Retired)
John A. Flaherty, Former Chief of Staff to Norman Y. Mineta
Robert T. Fujioka, Vice Chair, JANM Board of Trustees
William T Fujioka, Chair, JANM Board of Trustees
The Honorable Karen K. Narasaki, Former Commissioner, US Commission on Civil Rights
The Honorable Leon E. Panetta, Chairman, Panetta Institute for Public Policy
Karen E. Philbrick, PhD, Executive Director, Mineta Transportation Institute
The Honorable Anthony J. Principi, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 2001-2005
Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, President, Japan Institute of International Affairs
The Honorable Alan K. Simpson, US Senator, Wyoming, 1979-1997
The Honorable Rodney E. Slater, US Secretary of Transportation, 1997-2001
Susanne Stout Smith, Former Chief of Staff for Norman Y. Mineta
Keith Terasaki, MD, Chairman, Terasaki Family Foundation

As of 3/5/24

The Democracy Center explores the rights, freedoms, and fragility of democracy, helping to build bridges, and find common ground between people of diverse backgrounds and opinions.

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