The Mission of Humanities Iowa

To promote understanding and appreciation of the people, communities, culture, and stories of importance to Iowa and the nation.

What We Do

Founded in 1971, Humanities Iowa (HI) is committed to bringing the humanities to the public through grant making, publications, interactive programming and events.

We provide grants and partnerships to other non-profit organizations that further the humanities in the state, and we conduct our own programs that support the humanities across Iowa. Each year we serve over 250,000 Iowans with programming and projects like our Speakers Bureau. We have a strong commitment to sharing and supporting the humanities with all Iowans, and to bringing the humanities to life.


Humanities Iowa is pleased to offer the 2023 Speakers Bureau series with support from the State Historical Society, Inc.

The Humanities Iowa Speakers Bureau brings insightful lectures and programs in the humanities to various organizations in Iowa, including:

  • library groups
  • professional associations
  • arts councils
  • churches
  • PTAs
  • local historical societies
  • employee associations or any other non-profit adult community group
  • ​colleges, community colleges, universities and public schools can apply if programs are geared toward and open to the general public.

Meet our speakers and read more about their presentations: view by Subject or Alphabetically

How to Schedule a Speaker

Step 1:

Applications received more than six months prior to your event date will not be accepted. At least two months before the date of your program, contact your preferred speaker directly, explaining that you are requesting a lecture through the Humanities Iowa (HI) Speakers Bureau. Confirm that he/she is available on the date of your program. If the speaker you have chosen is not available, contact another speaker. Our staff will be happy to offer suggestions.

  • Some speakers prefer to give talks only in the general region in which they live. If a speaker agrees to travel to your region, HI will compensate a speaker with a flat fee. No other travel costs will be covered by HI.
  • It is important to remind the speakers you contact that the arrangement is tentative and depends on approval of an award from HI.
  • Remember: Do not apply for a Humanities Iowa Speakers Bureau presentation until you have contacted the speaker. Your application will not be processed by HI if you have not contacted your speaker first to determine his/her availability and eligibility.

Step 2:

After confirming your speaker's availability, submit your application online here. Send to HI at least ONE MONTH* before the date of your program. Please also include your $50 application fee by mailing a check to our office or through our online payment system. Online payments are through Network for Good, which is also used for donations. If paying through Network for Good, please include a copy of your receipt with your application.

  • Await notification from HI stating that HI has approved your application. Once approved, HI will send an award letter with an enclosed event evaluation and a publicity packet.
  • It is important to plan ahead! Allow enough time for publicity — we want you to have a successful event with an audience of at least 20 people.

Step 3:

After your event, return the one-page event evaluation and audience sign-in sheets to Humanities Iowa.

For more details, visit our Speakers Bureau FAQs. For further questions, please contact us.

*Please contact our Program Officer if you have missed the one month deadline.

Open Book is a story-sharing experience where trained Books (people) share chapters of their lives and facilitate a discussion around common themes.

Humanities Iowa