Veterans Initiative

Senior Fellow: Adin Dobkin
Subject: A multi-pronged project that hopes to stimulate discussion surrounding the growing divide between the military and civilians.


“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause.  Honor, also, to the citizen who care for his brother in the field and serves, as best he can, the same cause.”
– Abraham Lincoln

The issue of veterans affairs frequently makes it to the headlines of major media outlets throughout the United States, however, the complexity and sometimes exclusive nature of the veterans affairs community ensures that lasting progress is difficult to complete.

This progress requires a concerted effort on the part of the veterans and defense communities, the legislative branch, and the larger public.  It is also, at its core, an issue of communication.  Through a multi-pronged approach that hopes to generate a greater understanding of the individual as well as a broad base of innovative ideas from inside and outside the defense community, TKI’s Veterans Initiative hopes to take the first step bringing about meaningful headway to an issue faced by millions of Americans.

Over the course of twelve months, members of the Institute will take part in a series of discussions, commentaries, and advocacy efforts dedicated towards veterans affairs in the 21st century.

Veterans Initiative Welcome Letter from TKI’s Adin Dobkin

Individual Submissions

Over the past four years, TKI’s Hidden Truths Project has sought to develop greater levels of discussion surrounding socially-challenging situations, particularly those susceptible to misunderstanding and personal biases.  In 2015, HTP is expanding its scope to include veterans affairs.

A key portion of the 2015 initiative is the building of empathy, or an understanding of experiences between the civilian and military population.  The individual-based portion of the veterans initiative hopes to take a first step through the artistic expression of veterans.

Through these submissions, HTP’s Veterans Initiative hopes to:

  • Create awareness of the problems confronting the veterans population, including: PTSD and TBI
  • Develop a venue wherein art can become a language to express one’s wartime experiences, particularly where spoken words may fail
  • Stimulate discussions surrounding the use of art as an educational and therapeutic model for the veterans community in the post-deployment environment
Systematic Submissions

While understanding and eventual empathy come about through an individual’s knowledge, the fact remains that elements of the larger system often times deal a difficult blow towards veterans.  Furthermore, the problem is not endemic to the Veterans Affairs system — some would argue that certain portions of modern American society as a whole act as a source of veterans-related issues.

Regardless of one’s specific views, the systematic portion of TKI’s Veterans Initiative seeks to draw from a broad base of knowledge, opinions, and philosophies in order to generate innovative solutions across policy spheres.  Through a series of essays, no more than 1000 words in length, TKI hopes to bridge common-sense policies with broader philosophical and cultural discussions.

Submissions to both the individual and systematic prongs of the Veterans Initiative are encouraged.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the initiative, please forward them to

Submit Your Artwork
Submit Your Essay
Veterans Initiative in the News

Veterans Face a National Lack of Empathy – Adin Dobkin, The Hill

Photo Credit: US Department of Defense

Veterans Initiative Partners
I Was There

I WAS THERE Film Workshops combine the proven therapeutic value of storytelling with the power of digital video.  Our collaborative filmmaking workshops enable veterans to connect with one another, make sense of traumatic experiences, and substantially reduce symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress.  Visit their website at to see some of the short films created by veterans and hear what they have to say about the workshop experience.

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