New York, NY — Sakinah Alhabshi, a student of Graduate Theological Union, is one of thirteen seminary students chosen for the 2022 seminary program of the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE).
Now in its twelfth year of operation, FASPE provides a unique historical lens to engage graduate students in professional schools as well as early-stage practitioners in six fields (business, journalism, law, design & technology, medicine, and seminary) in an intensive course of study focused on contemporary ethical issues in their professions.
The FASPE seminary program offers an approach that differs from the usual classroom experience in seminary schools by providing a holistic curriculum that looks beyond the specifics of formal rules to focus on ethical problems faced by individual seminarians in the various settings within which they practice. Fellows participate in a two-week program in Germany and Poland, which uses the conduct of seminarians in Nazi-occupied Europe as a way to reflect on seminary ethics today.
Daily seminars are led by specialized faculty who engage fellows in discussions and critical thinking about both the historical and the contemporary. The seminary program is strengthened by the diverse perspectives of its participants and the power of place and context. The experience of the seminary fellows is enhanced by traveling alongside the medical and journalism fellows, who together—in formal and informal settings—consider how ethical constructs and norms in their respective professions align and differ.
“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 David Goldman, FASPE’s founder and chairman.
FASPE studies the perpetrators to emphasize the essential role of professionals and to ask how and why professionals abandon their ethical guideposts. The FASPE seminary program examines the role of seminarians in the Nazi state, underscoring the reality that moral codes governing seminarians can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences. With this historical background, the seminary fellows are better positioned to confront contemporary issues.
The 2022 fellowship will take place in Germany and Poland in the summer (subject to health considerations). The seminary program will be led by Father Steven Bell, Associate Pastor at Newman Hall/Holy Spirit Parish at the University of California, Berkeley and Rabbi Naomi Kalish, Harold and Carole Wolfe Director of the Center for Pastoral Education and Assistant Professor of Pastoral Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary.
Sakinah was born and raised in Malaysia. She has a BA in environmental engineering from Northwestern University and worked in the energy industry for a decade. She received a diploma in Islamic studies from Arees University, and classical Islamic education from Malaysia, Yemen, and Indonesia. Sakinah returned to the US in 2019 for professional chaplaincy training at Stanford Hospital in California. She completed a master’s in Islamic studies and is a candidate in the Interreligious Chaplaincy program at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Sakinah is on the board of Ziyara Spiritual Care and is a member of the Association of Muslim Chaplains.
Alhabshi joins a diverse group of eighty FASPE fellows across all six programs who were chosen through a competitive process that drew applicants from across the US and the world. FASPE covers all program costs, including travel, food, and lodging.
FASPE maintains long-term relationships with its fellows in order to sustain commitment to ethical behavior and to provide a forum for continued dialogue. To date, FASPE has over 650 alumni.
To learn more about FASPE and its programs, visit www.faspe-ethics.org.