In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy welcomes former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.

Johnson will kick off the event by reflecting on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and what that means to him as a fellow Morehouse Man. Following his remarks, he’ll sit down for a conversation with Dean Celeste Watkins-Hayes alongside Ford School faculty experts to reflect on his work with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense through questions submitted from the Ford School community on policy issues ranging from immigration to civil liberties.

Watch the Livestream conversation above from 3 – 4:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 16, 2023. 

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About the Speaker: 

Jeh JohnsonJeh Johnson is a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, who in public life was Secretary of Homeland Security (2013-2017), General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2009-2012), General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force (1998-2001), and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York (1989-1991).

As Secretary of Homeland Security, Johnson was the head of the third largest cabinet department of the U.S. government, consisting of 230,000 personnel and 22 components, including TSA, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Services, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, and FEMA.

As General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Johnson is credited with being the legal architect for the U.S. military’s counterterrorism efforts in the Obama Administration. In 2010, Johnson co-authored the report that paved the way for the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by Congress later that year.

Johnson is a 2022 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, a 2021 recipient of the American Lawyer’s Lifetime Achievement Award, as “an American statesman [who] has devoted his career to the public interest,” and a 2018 recipient of the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award, presented at the Reagan Presidential Library, for “contribut[ing] greatly to the defense of our nation,” and “guiding us through turbulent times with courage and wisdom.”

In private life, in addition to practicing law, Johnson is on the board of directors of Lockheed Martin, U.S. Steel, the Council on Foreign Relations, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, the Center for a New American Security, and is a trustee of Columbia University. Johnson is a regular commentator on NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, FOX, Bloomberg TV and other news networks. Johnson is a graduate of Morehouse College (1979) and Columbia Law School (1982) and the recipient of 12 honorary degrees.


Detroit Public TV proudly partners with the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy to bring you this livestream.

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