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Inconclusive Truths: The 2013 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Honorable Mention Winner

One reason why I fell in love with philosophy in college was because it’s a safe place to be inconclusive.  As human beings, we are very uncomfortable with the uncertain, which makes sense in a lot of ways. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that we need the comfort of a steady job, a long term lease on an apartment, a committed relationship, etc.  What areunreasonable are the boxes where we file away difficult topics so that we can continue with our daily lives, ignoring issues we’d rather not confront. In her essay entitled “Sandwiched Dignity,” it is Jamie Odom’s inability to come to a pat conclusion about homelessness that makes her writing so powerful. 

Ten years after an enlightening (but confusing) trip to learn about the homeless in fifth grade, Jamie went on an immersion trip in college that shook up her perspective and taught her that perhaps the homeless weren’t to blame for dropping out of their traditional lives.  Jamie writes about how she and the other students did not know what to expect from the immersion, because the organizers withheld the agenda:

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Topics: Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics

Quiet Ethics: 2013 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest 3rd Place Winner

Though I am not on the panel of  judges for the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics, I know just from reading the essays of each year’s winners that the genuine emotion that radiates from these pieces are part of what makes them winners.  In her third place essay, “Naan in the Afghan Village,” Alyssa Hollingsworth weaves an image of her arrival in an Afghan village where her sister teaches women about health and childbirth in order to answer a question posed by someone in America:

“Why would you want to help those people?  Don’t they deserve to suffer, after what they did to us?”

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Getting Straight to the Heart of the Matter: 2013 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest 2nd Place Winner

Each of the chosen essays for this year’s Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay contest is powerful, but Lawson Kuehnert’s “Grace and Gasoline: Self-Immolations in Modern Tibet and the Ethical Limits of Nonviolent Protest” really hits you from all sides.  Lawson chose to explore a difficult topic that he’s pondered for years, and this is just one of many ways I personally identified with Lawson and his essay.  A year ago, I too sought to confront a controversy that human beings may never be able to settle: can there ever be a time when it is good to let someone die?  My essay on euthanasia and Lawson’s essay on self-immolation don’t deal with precisely the same ethical questions, but his narrative reminded me very much of my own.

Lawson’s writing is extremely brave, because in exposing the painful and the controversial, he opens himself up to passionate criticism.  After spending two summers at a university in China, Lawson grew close to many Tibetan students. Naturally, he was deeply affected by the Tibetan self-immolations.  In this excerpt, Lawson teases out whether self-immolation can be considered a non-violent protest:

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The 2013 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest Winners: Reflections of a 2012 Alum

Last year, I was lucky enough to have my essay read and rewarded by Professor Elie Wiesel, Dov Seidman, and the rest of the judges for the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Prize in Ethics, an annual competition that challenges college students in the U.S. to submit essays on urgent ethical issues that confront us in today’s complex world. Today, as we award the winners of the 2013 Prize in Ethics contest, I can’t help but reflect on my experiences as a winner, and the journey I’ve been on since the Elie Wiesel Foundation brought me through LRN’s doors for the very first time.

LRN has been the exclusive corporate partner of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity's Prize in Ethics since 2008.  Since, the organizations have been working together to create a more just and ethical future through the cultivation of a new generation of ethical leaders. 

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Finding Moral Courage and Ethical Inspiration from Young Leaders

Writer’s note: On September 20, LRN celebrated the moral courage and ethical inspiration of the 2012 winners of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Contest.  On October 9, Malala Yousafzai was shot for speaking out for the right of young women to be educated in Pakistan.  This blog is dedicated to Malala and young ethical leaders everyone.

At LRN we often ask ourselves: What does ethical leadership look like?  Do we always know it when we see it? Can we quantify it?  Is my perception of ethical action different from yours?  What are the implications of those perceptions, and more importantly, those actions on the people around me and the state of the world?  What do I do when I know ethical action will lead me into harm’s way?
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Topics: Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics

Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Honorable Mention Essay Winner

In 2008, LRN became the exclusive corporate sponsor of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Prize in Ethics and has partnered with the Foundation to spark greater dialogue on ethical issues ever since. Recently, LRN hosted the winners of this year’s essay prize at LRN’s NYC office. Over the coming weeks we will feature each of the winners’ essays through dedicated posts on our blog, stay tuned. 

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Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Third Place Essay Winner

In 2008, LRN became the exclusive corporate sponsor of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Prize in Ethics and has partnered with the Foundation to spark greater dialogue on ethical issues ever since. Recently, LRN hosted the winners of this year’s essay prize at LRN’s NYC office. Over the coming weeks we will feature each of the winners’ essays through dedicated posts on our blog, stay tuned. 

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Topics: Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics

Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Second Place Essay Winner

In 2008, LRN became the exclusive corporate sponsor of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Prize in Ethics and has partnered with the Foundation to spark greater dialogue on ethical issues ever since. Recently, LRN hosted the winners of this year’s essay prize at LRN’s NYC office. Over the coming weeks we will feature each of the winners’ essays through dedicated posts on our blog, stay tuned. 

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Topics: Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics

Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics First Place Essay Winner

In 2008, LRN became the exclusive corporate sponsor of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Prize in Ethics and has partnered with the Foundation to spark greater dialogue on ethical issues ever since. Recently, LRN hosted the winners of this year’s essay prize at LRN’s NYC office. Over the coming weeks we will feature each of the winners’ essays through dedicated posts on our blog, stay tuned. 

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Topics: Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics

Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Honorable Mention Essay Winner

In 2008, LRN became the exclusive corporate sponsor of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Prize in Ethics and has partnered with the Foundation to spark greater dialogue on ethical issues ever since. Recently, LRN hosted the winners of this year’s essay prize at LRN’s NYC office. Over the coming weeks we will feature each of the winners’ essays through dedicated posts on our blog, stay tuned. 

True North
By Logan Byrd
 
When I was twenty-six years old, I decided to become pregnant. I embarked on that journey with great conviction and a detailed list of pitfalls to avoid. I had learned well how not to be a mother, having myself been mothered by a woman with all the warmth of a feral cat. I had questioned long and hard whether I wanted to take on the task, but had decided that motherhood was a challenge that I would conquer, an example of how unlike my own mother I was. I would be a mother, a good one. I had no quesitons, no concerns. Chin first, I headed toward my future.
 
Read the rest of the essay  here.
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Topics: Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics