Capitol Telling
In Partnership with theTelling Project and HillVets

The Atlantic Council and the Telling Project, in partnership with HillVets, present Capitol Telling: a performance by post-9/11 veterans written from their own stories on Thursday, December 8 from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm on Capitol Hill.

Capitol Telling is part of the Atlantic Council's 2016 Take Point Initiative. Three fellows from the initiative, which aims to engage post-9/11 veterans in the foreign policy discourse, will present stories about their military experiences, and reflect on how those experiences shaped their world and policy views in a theater performance format. This performance aims to bridge the civil-military divide and deepen our understanding of the lessons derived from these experiences.

Capitol Telling will be performed on Capitol Hill and will include a reception with complimentary drinks and food.

The performers include three former US Army officers: 

  • Brian Donnelly a PhD Candidate at the Geneva Graduate School of Governance
  • David Eisler a Research Associate with the Institute for Defense Analyses
  • Alisha Guffey and VIP Fellow/Program Analyst at the US State Department
Both the reception and performance will be held in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on Thursday, December 8 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Brian Donnelly earned his BS from West Point in 2009 with a major in Foreign Languages before commissioning into the Infantry.  He was assigned to a unit in Germany and served as a platoon leader and liaison officer in eastern Afghanistan from 2011-2012 while completing his MPA through Bowie State University with an emphasis on public policy and a detailed analysis of the Global War on Terror.  Brian then transitioned into the Army Civil Affairs and served at Fort Bragg, NC as a Team Leader with an operational rotation to Niger working out of the capital, Niamey. 

Brian is currently beginning work on his PhD dissertation through the Geneva Graduate School of Governance in Geneva, Switzerland.  His work involves illuminating the grand strategy behind Western security and development operations in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa by examining beyond the existing counterterrorism and development narratives.

Brian is a seasoned world traveler, BASE jumper, and martial artist who recently completed Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh, India.  He constantly applies the lessons, skills, and experiences gained through his hobbies to his research by seeking new out fresh perspectives and making new connections between different disciplines and fields of study.  

David Eisler is a Research Associate at the Institute for Defense Analyses where he provides analytical support to the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. His also a member of the Board of Directors for Words After War, a non-profit literary organization that brings veterans and civilians together to examine war and conflict through the lens of literature. Prior to joining IDA, David served five years on active duty in the United States Army, earning the rank of captain and completing overseas tours in Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan. 

Much of David’s work has focused on breaking down stereotypes and creating empathy in civil-military relations. He has published essays, book reviews, academic articles, and fiction in a variety of literary and media outlets.

David received a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from Cornell University in 2007 and a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 2014. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and son.

Alisha Guffey is a 13-year Veteran of the US Army and currently a fellow with the US State Department in the Secretary's Office of Global Partnerships. In May 2016, she completed her Master of International Business Degree at The Fletcher School at Tufts University in Massachusetts. During her tenure at Fletcher, Alisha pursued her passion for creativity through a mentorship with the Writers Guild of America and ultimately started her own production company called Combat Camera Productions, which aims to help share the real stories and personal narratives of post-conflict.  Alisha is also the creator of the Ask and Tell Project aimed at telling the hidden stories of LGBTQ Veterans and Service Members in the light of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Dr. Max Rayneard is the director and writer of “Capitol Telling” and is a co-creator of The Telling Project process. He is a South African Fulbright Scholar who has written, produced and/or directed for The Telling Project on a dozen productions. He has presented papers regarding his Telling Project work at both national and global conferences, and has been published in peer-reviewed academic and creative venues. He is a research affiliate of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program and the Program of Theater in the Department of English at Colgate University and holds a PhD in Comparative literature from The University of Oregon.