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University of Texas at Austin Journalism Student to Participate in FASPE

Beth Cortez-Neavel, a student at the University of Texas at Austin Graduate School of Journalism, is one of the 14 journalism students chosen by FASPE (Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics) to participate in a two-week program in New York, Germany, and Poland in May 2013.  This trip is one of four FASPE programs, each of which works with 14-15 students, that use the history of the Holocaust as a way to engage students in an intensive study of contemporary ethics in their fields.

FASPE fellowships examine the roles played by professionals in four specific fields (journalism, law, clergy, and medicine) in Nazi Germany and underscore that moral codes governing these key professions can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences.  By educating students about the causes of the Holocaust and promoting their awareness of related contemporary issues, FASPE seeks to prepare these Fellows to address various ethical issues facing their professions in the present day.

The 2013 program will be led by Ari Goldman, Professor at the Columbia Journalism School and director of the Scripps Howard Program in Religion, Journalism and the Spiritual Life; and Sheila Coronel, Toni Stabile Professor of Professional Practice in Investigative Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School.

Ms. Cortez-Neavel, now completing her Master’s degree in journalism, hopes that FASPE will help her maintain her professional goal of “publishing solid reporting without a loss of integrity or empathy for the source and subject.” She is particularly interested in the Holocaust because she believes that studying “the ‘why’ behind transgressions” will result in a better future that does not repeat past mistakes. She says that FASPE will provide her with a “better understanding of my own professional ethics and [show] how I can use my ideals and beliefs to better the profession as a whole.”

Ms. Cortez-Neavel and the other FASPE Journalism Fellows will begin orientation at the Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City on May 26.  They will be traveling with a similar group of FASPE Law Fellows.  Orientation will include visiting the Museum’s exhibits, meeting with Holocaust survivors, and working with FASPE staff and guest scholars.  The European portion will include visits to Berlin and Nuremberg, where Fellows will have the opportunity to study historical and cultural sites. Educational workshops will be held at places such as 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 “Final Solution.”  The Fellows will also 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.

About FASPE

FASPE’s innovative programs for students in these four disciplines address contemporary ethical issues through a unique historical context.  FASPE is predicated upon the power of place, and in particular the first-hand experience of visiting Auschwitz and traveling through Germany and Poland where Fellows study the past and consider how to apply the lessons of history as they confront the ethical challenges of their profession.

FASPE works under the auspices of the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and in cooperation with the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz, Berlin, Germany and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Oświęcim, Poland.  For more information about topics the students will study and to view a video about FASPE, visit www.mjhnyc.org/faspe.

Lead support for FASPE is provided by C. David Goldman, Frederick and Margaret Marino, and the Eder Family Foundation. FASPE is also supported by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and other generous donors.

About the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

The Museum’s exhibitions educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the rich tapestry of Jewish life over the past century—before, during, and after the Holocaust.  Current special exhibitions include Hava Nagila: A Song for the People, on view through Summer 2013. It is also home to the award-winning Keeping History Center, an interactive visitor experience, and Andy Goldsworthy’s memorial Garden of Stones. The Museum offers visitors a vibrant public program schedule in its Edmond J. Safra Hall and receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.