The Sussman Lecture Series

The Sussman Lecture Series is dedicated to studying issues that define our public life and engaging students and citizens in constructive dialogue regarding these issues.

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 seeks to create opportunities for thoughtful policy discourse in a nonpartisan environment.

The Sussman Lecture Series hosts a notable public policy figure to discuss topical current events with a small audience. The series was established by the late Richard Sussman (AS’51), in memory of his late wife Lila. Tickets are required and seating is limited to provide an intimate experience for attendees.

Spring 2024 Sussman Lecture: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America with Dr. Jennifer Silva

The Harkin Institute is excited to announce this Spring’s Sussman Lecture, “Pain and Politics in the Heart of America” with Dr. Jennifer Silva. Dr. Silva will discuss the economic, social, and cultural challenges currently facing America’s working class and how those challenges have impacted the ability of the working class to achieve the American Dream. Dr. Silva has written two books surrounding these topics, Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty and We’re Still Here: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America.

Our most recent Sussman lecture: Fall 2023

“Dignity: The Foundation of a New Patriotism” with Tim Shriver

Americans may be more divided than ever, but some say our disagreements aren’t causing the division, but what we do when we disagree. At the Fall 2023 Sussman Lecture, Tim Shriver discussed “The Dignity Index”, which was developed by his nonprofit UNITE, and shared how it can be applied to solve the country’s toxic political and cultural divides. Shriver also explained why dignity is the key to easing divisions, preventing violence, and solving problems.

Address: 2800 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311

Phone: (515) 271-3623


Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.