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About the Institute

Drake University is proud to be the home of Senator Tom Harkin’s papers, spanning 40 years in public service and addressing some of the most pressing issues of the past half-century. The Harkin Institute was founded at Drake in the spring of 2013 with two goals.

First, the Institute will facilitate collaborative, high-quality, nonpartisan, multi-disciplinary public policy research dedicated to the issues that defined Senator Harkin’s legislative career, including:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related topics
  • Chronic disease prevention and biomedical research
  • Access to and improvement of education
  • Federal farm policy, including Farm Bill development and soil and water conservation
  • Childhood nutrition, food access, and hunger prevention
  • Health care access and reform
  • Labor issues
  • Human rights and international development

Research, education, and outreach will expand knowledge and understanding of these and related issues among students, scholars, and the public.

Second, the Harkin Institute will foster active and informed citizen engagement in public decision-making and policy-making. The Institute will provide research and expertise on the Iowa caucuses, and will serve as a source of information and training programs on public policy issues and political processes for the state of Iowa and the nation.