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Welcome to The Harkin Institute.

The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement exists to inform citizens, inspire creative cooperation, and catalyze change on issues of social justice, fairness, and opportunity.

Founded on the premise that good public policy is best achieved when policymakers have access to high quality information, political processes are open and well-understood, and citizens are informed and active participants, The Harkin Institute offers programing, experiences, research, and connectivity focused on the areas that defined Senator Harkin’s career—people with disabilities, retirement security, wellness and nutrition, and labor and employment.

Join us Thursday, October 17 at 7 p.m. for

The Media, the Constitution, and the 2016 Race:
A Post-Election Panel

Click here for details and to reserve a seat to this free, open-to-the-public recording of Iowa Public Television's Iowa Press.


News from The Harkin Institute

  • On August 1, Joseph Jones began his position as executive director at The Harkin Institute, following a role as senior VP for government relations and public policy at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Click here to read more about Joseph.

  • After guiding the creation and establishment of The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement for the past three years, Marsha Ternus has retired from her position as director of the institute. Her leadership was crucial to creating a sustainable foundation for the future.  Marsha’s leadership and vision have been vital to the success of The Harkin Institute, and we wish her all the best. Read all about Marsha's tenure here.

  • What is the ADA Generation? What do the youth who have never known life without the ADA want for persons with disabilities for the next 25 years. Check out our new project with all the answers here! #ADA2040

  • Drake University and Harkin Institute student, Zachary Mecham, was profiled by the Des Moines Register! Read all about Zach here. 
  • Cowles Library Political Papers Archivist, Hope Grebner, is a co-curator of the new "Great Society Congress" online exhibition about what many consider the most productive Congress in American History. Click here to take an online tour of the 89th Congress.