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Experts - Derrick Harkins-min

Derrick Harkins

Senior Vice President for Innovation in Public Programs at Union Theological Seminary

Prior to his appointment as Senior Vice-President at Union Seminary, Dr. Harkins served as pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC, where he led the congregation in initiatives ranging from providing health education and access, to international relief and development. Before beginning his pastorate at Nineteenth Street, Dr. Harkins served as the Senior Minister of the New Hope Baptist Church of Dallas Texas. There he served as President of the Greater Dallas Community of Churches and was a founding board member of The Dallas Leadership Foundation. In Dallas Dr. Harkins was a leading voice in the efforts toward reconciliation between the African-American and Latino communities. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Rev. Harkins was named National Director of Faith Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, and has advised the Obama Administration on a number of faith related issues.

Dr. Harkins’ ministerial career began at the Historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York where he was a seminarian intern before becoming Assistant Minister. He has been a guest lecturer on the church and social action at a number of colleges and universities including, Bucknell, Cornell, Iona College, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Formerly a Vice President with the North American Baptist Fellowship of the Baptist World Alliance, Dr. Harkins continues to be engaged with a number of religious and civic organizations. He has preached and been extensively engaged in relief and development work in Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and Jamaica, and has also contributed to the work of Search for Common Ground USA, and Many Voices on the issue of marriage equality. An active voice in the debate for comprehensive immigration reform, he has worked closely with the Immigration Policy Center, and Esperanza for America to expand the combined immigration reform efforts of the African American and Hispanic communities. He has appeared in a number of media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and NPR, and has written for the Sojourners blog God’s Politics.

Dr. Harkins was a contributing author for The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama (Judson Press). He has earned a B.S. degree in Broadcasting and Film, from Boston University, a Master of Divinity degree in Church History from Union Theological Seminary, NY, and a Doctorate in Homiletics as a Proctor Booth Fellow from United Seminary, in Dayton, Ohio. He was also a Fellow with the Christian Leadership Initiative of the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, a group of scholars and leaders developing curricula and platforms for discussion that seek to address the complexities of contemporary Israel and the West Bank. He and his wife Juli are the parents of two daughters, Lauren and Shannon.

Dr. Harkins participated in the first Square One Roundtable convening “Examining the History of Racial and Economic Inequality: Implications for Justice Policy and Practice.”