Katherine Salisbury, a graduate of Pittsford Mendon High School and current student at the University of Virginia, is one of the 13 business students chosen by Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics to participate in a two-week program in Europe this summer.
Salisbury is studying for her Master of Business Administration. The summer program uses the conduct of executives and managers in Nazi Germany as a launching point for an intensive course of study about leadership today and contemporary business ethics.
Now in its seventh year of operation, FASPE is an international program for students in five professional disciplines — business, journalism, law, medicine and religion — designed to address contemporary ethical issues in their chosen fields through a unique historical lens.
FASPE is predicated upon the power of place and, in particular, the firsthand experience of visiting Auschwitz and other historic sites associated with the Holocaust, where fellows consider how to apply the lessons of history to the ethical challenges they will confront in their professions.
FASPE examines the roles played by professionals in business, journalism, law, medicine and the clergy in Nazi Germany, underscoring that the moral codes governing these essential professions can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences.
“By educating students about the causes of the Holocaust and the power of their chosen professions, FASPE seeks to instill a sense of professional responsibility for the ethical and moral choices that the fellows will make in their careers and in their professional relationships,” said C. David Goldman, founder of FASPE.
The 2016 FASPE Business program will be led by Mary Gentile, director of Giving Voice to Values, senior research scholar at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and senior advisor at the Aspen Institute Business and Society program; and Markus Scholz, endowed chair of Corporate Governance & Business Ethics at the FHWien University of Applied Sciences in Vienna, Austria.
“The FASPE program is an amazing opportunity to expand my learnings from UVA’s Darden School of Business and gain a global perspective on being a better leader,” Salisbury said. “The ability to utilize historical issues to discuss how to solve future business challenges will not only improve my own viewpoint on leadership, but also will allow me bring insights back to my fellow students and future colleagues as I continue on in my career.”
Salisbury received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from Syracuse University. She worked in business development and marketing in New York City prior to entering business school, first at Omnicom Media Group, a global communications corporation, and most recently at Kelton, a boutique consulting agency. Her experience working alongside global senior management has driven her interest to learn more about different leadership styles and how to motivate teams to do their best work.
She joins a group of 63 FASPE fellows who represent a broad range of religious, ethnic and racial backgrounds who were chosen through a competitive process that drew over 700 applicants from around the world. FASPE covers all program costs including transatlantic and European travel, food and lodging. Over the past six years, FASPE has worked with over 320 fellows using curricula designed in partnership with faculty from Columbia University, Georgetown University and Yale.
FASPE business fellows, along with the journalism and law fellows, will begin their program May 22 in Berlin. The program includes museum visits, meeting with a Holocaust survivor and attending educational workshops 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 will take place in seminar rooms at Auschwitz and at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities. The final part of the trip will be held in Krakow, Poland, where fellows will explore the city’s Catholic, Jewish and Polish history.
After the program, each fellow will submit a final written essay focused on a contemporary ethical issue of his or her choice. Select essays will be published in the annual FASPE Journal, which showcases essays in all five disciplines.
“FASPE is committed to a long-term relationship with fellows in order to sustain the ideas raised during the program. FASPE fosters an active network of alumni and provides a variety of opportunities for fellows to exchange ideas and to meet to continue the dialogue started during our trips as they move forward in their careers,” said Thorin Tritter, FASPE’s managing director. “The centerpiece of these efforts is our annual Alumni Reunion and Symposium, where fellows from all years discuss the current issues in their respective fields and participate in various inter-disciplinary networking activities.”