The following account of David Solimini’s visit is provided by Guest Blogger Kiara Earle
On the first day of the Washington DC Summer Institute, students have come from a number of different paths to reach our destination in the city. Interviews and countless applications no longer hang over our heads, as students excitedly chatter about experiences that their unique internship experience might bring. Months of stress and preparation lead to this exiting first day of opportunity and enlightenment. In the National Security classroom, a guest speaker delivers an engaging lecture on the importance of international development, and the role that it plays in the evolving American 21st century foreign policy. The first day leaves students doubtlessly fatigued, but also looking forward to the challenge that the bustling city brings.
We enjoyed a wonderful speaker during our busy first day in the Institute. David Solimini, as the Vice President for Strategic Communications gave a presentation about how the Truman National Security Project uses research and polling to find ways to package the idea of foreign aid in a positive manner. They used polls to find what peoples’ preferences, political orientation, or ideas were and combined this with insight into today’s public opinion. The ads that he presented showed how citizens are often sensitive to the language used, buzzwords such as “American,” and “country” drew positive or negative responses from participants in the research. This demonstrates that Solimini is acting on the current political perspectives of the country. In order to capitalize on the themes such as strong leadership, trust in the military, or worry over the economy they make ads that use a military protagonist and highlight the economy. The presentation overall showed how public opinion can be overcome or molded with careful study and thought.