Graduate journalism student Samantha Pickette is one of 12 young journalists chosen by Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics, or FASPE, to participate in a two-week program this summer in New York, Germany and Poland.

FASPE, now in its fifth year of operation, is a unique international program that explores the history of the Holocaust as a way to engage graduate students from journalism, law, medicine and religion in an intensive study of contemporary ethics in their discipline. In each of the four fields, FASPE offers innovative programs that address current ethical issues through a singular historical context.

Fellows study the past and consider how to apply the lessons of history as they confront today’s ethical challenges in their profession while visiting Auschwitz and traveling through Germany and Poland.

Run in conjunction with the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, FASPE fellowships examine the roles played by professionals in medicine, law, clergy and journalism in Nazi Germany and underscore that the moral codes governing these essential professions can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences.

The 2014 FASPE Journalism program will be led by Andie Tucher, Associate Professor at the Columbia Journalism School and Director of the Doctor of Philosophy in Communications program; and Dale Maharidge, Professor at the Columbia Journalism School.

The first leg of the European portion is in Berlin, where the Fellows will have the opportunity to study the city’s historical and cultural sites. Educational workshops will take place at the House of the Wannsee Conference, the site where representatives of State and Nazi Party agencies convened in 1942 to discuss and coordinate plans for the Nazis’ “Final Solution.”

The Fellows then travel to Oświęcim, Poland, the town the Germans called Auschwitz, where they will work with the distinguished educational staff at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Sessions devoted to contemporary ethics take place in seminar rooms at Auschwitz and at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities. The final leg of the trip will be held in Krakow, Poland, where they will explore the city’s rich Jewish, Catholic and Polish history.

Upon return, each Fellow will submit a final written essay focused on a contemporary ethical issue chosen by the Fellow. These are published in the annual FASPE Journal which includes essays from Fellows from all disciplines.

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