2020 Webinars

In 2020, FASPE presented a series of Webinars that focused on Professional Ethics and Ethical Leadership. We began with several that discuss these questions within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these webinars were discipline-specific, others focused on interdisciplinary problems.

Monday, December 14, 2020

In Conversation with Timothy Snyder

Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Conversation on Professional Ethics and the FASPE Experience

Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) challenges graduate students and future leaders to recognize and confront their ethical responsibilities as professionals by analyzing the decisions and actions of Nazi-era professionals, integrating history and contemporary ethical issues.

Thorsten Wagner, FASPE Executive Director; Benjamin Perlstein, 2018 FASPE Seminary Fellow, Rabbinical Student at the Jewish Theological Seminary; Duncan Pickard, 2017 FASPE Law Fellow, Associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Tomo Takaki, 2018 FASPE Law Fellow, recent graduate of Yale Law School; Talia Weiss, Physics PhD student at Yale University, former UChicago Liaison and program coordinator for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (2018-19), working with The Trebuchet on the creation of upcoming student initiatives

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Ethical Leadership in Business: Facing COVID, George Floyd and an Uncertain Future

Leadership—ethical leadership--never matters more than during times of crisis. With a global pandemic raging with the ensuing economic upheaval, and a nationwide reckoning with systemic and endemic racism in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, leadership is currently being tested at every level. From teachers to C.E.O.s, healthcare workers to mayors, those in positions of influence are being asked to make difficult decisions that often may suggest complex trade-offs. What does ethical leadership look like under these circumstances? How can leaders navigate (and lead) in these crises in a fashion in which the ethical questions are top of mind and truly moral conclusions are the endgame? Join Dov Seidman in conversation with Mike Eichenwald, as they discuss what it means to be an ethical leader, with contributions from a panel of inspiring young corporate leaders.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Healing the System: Confronting Racism in Medical Training

The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn public attention to the disproportionate negative healthcare outcomes for communities of color. However, our failures do not begin with disparities in the delivery of healthcare. In medicine, racial inequities are not just individual or episodic; they are systemic. The biases and practices that inform medical training ultimately contribute to disparities in healthcare more broadly. Join us as we examine racism and inequity in medical education and discuss how institutions and physicians must heal the system itself.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

On the Wrong Side of History: The Removal and Imprisonment of Japanese Americans during WW II and the Roles of Lawyers

The detention of tens of thousands of Americans of Japanese descent, 1942-46, is only gradually becoming an integral part of the American historical narrative. What led to these drastic measures? How were professionals – particularly lawyers – involved in this process, even inside the camps themselves? 
One of America’s leading experts on this crucial, but often neglected, aspect of American history, FASPE Academic Director and Professor of Law Eric Muller, will discuss the racist dimensions of these policies and the complexities of professional responsibility connected with the roles of lawyers in the camps. He will be joined by Erica Newland, who until recently served as an Attorney Advisor at the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice. She will help to connect this historical exploration with the timeless question of how we should think about the obligations of lawyers with a conscience embedded in problematic or even corrupt systems.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Rule of Law and the Ascension of the Third Reich with Thorsten Wagner and Eric Muller

Nazi Germany is often misunderstood as an arbitrary, lawless regime. But even as the rule of law gradually was hollowed out, significant structures of the legal system continued to exist. National-conservative lawyers and judges contributed in various legal and extra-legal ways to the establishment of a terrorist dictatorship – especially by legally codifying the radical otherness of the “racially inferior”.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Between Mankato and Gettysburg: Building a New America and the Responsibility of Professional and Religious Leaders

Featuring: Father Steven Bell and Shannon Prince

Father Steven Bell, FASPE Seminary faculty and FASPE Law alum Shannon Prince address the intricate questions of the potentials and responsibilities of professionals at this critical juncture of race relations in American society. What do concrete steps for a productive cross-racial dialogue look like, beginning with the language we use? How do we navigate the issues of public memory in America, as so many of our national heroes are more ambiguous than often acknowledged? Reckoning with the past has to be undertaken at the individual, community and national levels. How do we undertake so complex a project, and how can professionals aid us? And finally, how do we cultivate a critical understanding of the American past, without creating new narrow hegemonies and damaging the potential for pluralist and diverse perspectives of interpretation?

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Learning from the Germans: Confronting the Legacy of Racism in the Professions

Featuring: Shannon Prince and Susan Neiman

Shannon Prince and Susan Neiman discuss the question of whether America can look to a post-genocidal Germany for inspiration in creating a self-critical culture of memory, continuing reckoning with the history of slavery and violence, and at last confronting oppressive racism. In Susan Neiman’s words: “We cannot have a just and decent present as long as we refuse to face our pasts.” What does this mean for the historical and contemporary complicity of the professionals, as they have designed and sustained a system of racist discrimination? How can we come to terms with a fraught past of complicity and perpetual discrimination, with the goal of a more equitable and democratic society?

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Ethics of Reopening

Featuring: Stephen Latham, Nancy Berlinger, Justin Bernstein

Worldwide, the reopening of institutions and businesses in the aftermath of the pandemic peak is a political and social process fraught with massive ethical dilemmas, resulting in life-and-death consequences. In America, it has become even further complicated by the ripple effects of the protests against police violence and deeply ingrained racism. As we reopen, what are we willing to sacrifice, and for which greater good? The public debate has made little room for discussing the necessary, hard trade-offs between competing or even conflicting risks and values, such as well-being, liberty, and justice. Ultimately, what ethical frameworks should guide the decision-making of policymakers and professionals?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Breaking News: The Ethical Pitfalls of Covering a Pandemic

Featuring: Dustin Volz, Kathleen Culver, Catherine Lucey and Dylan Scott

The needs of the public and policymakers for accurate, reliable information have seldom been more urgent, yet journalists have rarely faced more challenges. How can journalists inform about public health risks without causing undo panic or alarm, and maintain the trust of the audiences despite so much misinformation, distrust, and uncertainty? What is the responsibility of reporters to educate about the need for behavioral and societal adjustments necessary to reduce human suffering while maintaining objectivity and applying scrutiny to government policies? How should conspiracies or falsehoods being promoted by those in power or protesting on the streets be covered, if at all? And what obligation do reporters have to get the story if it presents great personal risk to them, their families or their sources?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Fear, Heroism, Betrayal: COVID-19 as the Ultimate Test of Medical Ethics

Featuring: FASPE Medical Faculty Member Jay R. Malone, MD, PhD; Rhea Boyd MD, MPH, FAAP; Colleen M. Farrell, MD; Abraar Karan MD, MPH, DTM&H

The COVID-19 pandemic is defined by the antiheroic hero. Glib heroization does not sit well with many doctors and health care workers, who would prefer to be treated with simple respect and provided with sufficient equipment, instead of being praised as the self-sacrificing fighters on the frontline. But a broken commercialized health care system and a recurring failure of political and administrative leadership have only exacerbated the ethical quagmires of fighting a pandemic of this magnitude, forcing healthcare workers to make increasingly difficult decisions.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Pandemic as Prism: Revisiting the American Criminal Justice System in Times of Crisis

Featuring: Professor Eric Muller, Nila Bala, Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer and Jennifer Toon

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to police officers making fewer criminal arrests and prosecutors pursuing fewer cases. Criminal court hearings that used to take place in a courtroom now take place by means of Zoom video conferences. Prisoners are being released for fear of the health risks inside our prisons. Long established criminal justice procedures are being modified in order to accommodate the realities of social distancing.

Who are making these ad hoc decisions? How are police officers, prosecutors, prison officials, and judges making what are ultimately ethical decisions, often on a case by case basis? What can the pandemic tell us about our criminal justice system?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Disparities and Death: Why Are America’s Communities of Color Particularly Vulnerable?

Featuring: Astead Herndon, John Eligon, Diana Hernandez and Ese Olumhense

The disproportionate deadly impact of COVID-19 on America’s communities of color is obvious and is being widely reported. The inequalities inherent in American systems have long been a feature of society, and the current pandemic is vividly displaying the impact of these flaws, revealing fractures that clearly threaten our entire society and force us to think about who we are and who we think we are.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Ethics in the Time of Crisis: Sacrificing Basic Freedoms and Rights

Featuring: Trevor Morrison & Valerie Hopkins

Honorable and well-intentioned Public Health officials and not so well-intentioned autocrats are asking that we give up fundamental freedoms and compromise fundamental ethical behavior—in the name of fighting the COVID-19 Virus. Restrictions on travel, invasions of privacy, attacks on the press, increased power in the hands of national leaders, limitations on access to places of prayer, the suspension of judicial systems and more. Are the rule of law and the bill of rights in the United States and analogous constitutional provisions elsewhere being threatened? How should we think about the intersection of interests of public health vs. our hard-earned rights and our demand for ethical behavior?

April 21, 2020

COVID-19: What is Ethical Business Leadership?

Panelists: Brian Hathaway (Moderator), Shira Beery, Yodit Beyene, & Mary Gentile

COVID-19 has thrown the economy into turmoil, with 16 million Americans newly unemployed and entire industries facing possible insolvency. Many companies are now publicly grappling with an issue at the heart of the FASPE Business program: how to navigate loyalties to multiple stakeholder groups, such as shareholders, employees, customers, and the general public. 

April 15, 2020

Mengele: Unmasking The Angel of Death

Featuring Author, David Marwell and Chairman, David Goldman
Hosted by Labyrinth Bookstore

Who was Mengele?  FASPE Board Member and Faculty, David Marwell, has recently authored what many are calling the definitive account of Josef Mengele, Mengele: Unmasking The Angel of Death. Marwell and FASPE Chairman, David Goldman discuss Mengele—the doctor/scientist who became a symbol of Nazi evil, of the absolute failure of medical ethics.

April 7, 2020

The Scientist Within an Anti-Science Administration: The Fauci Question

Featuring: David Luban and Martine Powers

Since his election, President Trump has decried the “deep state,” he has minimized the scientists and he has attacked the professional bureaucrats. This has raised the question for mid-level and senior professionals within various departments whether they should stay or leave. Are they complicit if they stay? Are they avoiding their responsibility as professionals if they leave? Can they accomplish more by staying or leaving?

March 30, 2020

COVID-19: A Question of Faith

Panelists: Daniel Headrick (moderator), Cate Anthony, Nicholas Collura, & Michael Rozier

The series begins with issues facing our professions during the coronavirus crisis, as the pandemic is both causing new ethical challenges and exacerbating existing ones. The first topic is: COVID-19: A Question of Faith.

Most religious traditions are built around the communal experience and the fellowship of ritual - what happens when COVID-19 makes this impossible?  How can clerics comfort and project hope, and yet communicate honestly in a situation of overwhelming fear, anxiety and grief? And how can I be chaplain and pastor, assisting the medical professionals at the frontline of the battle?