Whirlwind: A Glimpse into Digital Democracy with Katie Harbath

November 27, 2023 - Features

by Raina Peter | Student Outreach Coordinator

A woman lectures from a podium while people in the foreground look on.

Dole Institute Visiting Fellow Katie Harbath speaks at a November 9, 2023, program at the Dole Institute of Politics.



In early November, the Dole Institute partnered with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to host events for students at the University of Kansas and community members that offered a preview of what to expect for digital democracy in the coming year. Dole Institute Visiting Fellow and former Facebook Public Policy Director Katie Harbath, as well as John Richter and Morgan Atkins of the Bipartisan Policy Center, joined us for these events.

Harbath first hosted an intimate, interactive workshop on November 8 with 14 members of the Dole Institute’s Student Advisory Board—the official student organization of the Dole Institute.


People sit around a table eating dinner while people at the head of the table have a discussion.

Members of the Dole Institute’s Student Advisory Board were invited to a private workshop and dinner with Dole Institute Visiting Fellow Katie Harbath and staff from the Bipartisan Policy Center.


In the first segment of the workshop, Harbath spoke with students about what to expect in 2024 with an unprecedented number of elections worldwide, the impact of new technologies such as AI, and the implementation of new tech regulations—each of which are testing the limits of established and newer online platforms.

Later that evening, students shared academic and professional experiences in a roundtable discussion over dinner. Katie, John, and Morgan offered career and internship advice to the students, while also providing insights into Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley.

After dinner, Harbath led the interactive portion of her program with students, where students were divided into groups and played the role of a technology executive tasked with content moderation at a social media company. Through the use of real-world examples, the exercise prompted discussion on freedom of speech, overreach, censorship, and harmful or dangerous rhetoric.


A young woman speaks while others in the same row look on.

Dole Institute Student Advisory Board members participate in activities that introduced them to concepts of content moderation and how it interacts with democracy.


The following morning, the three guests mingled with Friends of the Dole Institute at a breakfast reception before Harbath presented her lecture for community members. Guests found this lecture particularly engaging and insightful, asking a handful of questions in the Q&A session of the program.


A woman smiles while listening to an individual and in the foreground speak.

Dole Institute Visiting Fellow Katie Harbath presented her expectations for Digital Democracy in 2024 with members of the community on November 9, 2023.


If you are interested in getting involved with the Student Advisory Board, please email dolesab@ku.edu and learn more online at doleinstitute.org.


Miss the program? Watch the program below, or on our YouTube channel.



Raina Peter is a student assistant at the Dole Institute of Politics, and a student at the University of Kansas studying economics and political science. In her role, Raina assists fellow student assistants and staff with event and program management, and cross-campus outreach. A member of the Dole Institute’s Student Advisory Board, Raina has interned for the Department of State, Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS), and strengthened Dole Institute ties with Washington, D.C.

About the Dole Institute
The Dole Institute was dedicated on July 22, 2003, at the University of Kansas on Senator Bob Dole’s 80th birthday. Home to the personal archives of both Senator Bob and Senator Elizabeth Dole, with a museum facility on par with the U.S. Presidential libraries, the Dole Institute has been a vibrant political forum promoting civil discourse, civic engagement, and idea exchange across the political spectrum for 20 years.

About the Bipartisan Policy Center
The Bipartisan Policy Center is a mission-focused organization helping policymakers work across party lines to craft bipartisan solutions. By connecting Republicans and Democrats, delivering data and context, negotiating public policy, and creating space for bipartisan collaboration, BPC helps turn legislators’ best ideas into durable laws that improve lives. Since 2007, the Bipartisan Policy Center has helped shepherd countless bills across the finish line.

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