NEW YORK, N.Y., October 30, 2015 – The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and its corporate sponsor, LRN, awarded two United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) Class of 2015 graduates prizes for their submissions to the 2015 Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest at a ceremony in New York City, last week.
Ensign Andrew Mueller, who is serving in the U.S Navy as a Student Naval Aviator, won Second Prize for his essay, "The Ethics of Giving: Lessons from the Ship and the City," in which he illustrates a developed framework for ethical giving after witnessing firsthand acts of inhumanity during his time at sea visiting the port of Djibouti.
Ensign Joshua Asaro, a Surface Warfare Officer, also serving in the U. S. Navy, was awarded an Honorable Mention for his essay, "Public Service in the Social Media Age: How Ethics and Perception Must Guide Our Service Members," in which he reflects on the duty and responsibility of public servants in the social media age to accept expanded roles associated with earning public trust.
Superintendent Rear Adm. James A. Helis, USMMA, said “I congratulate our award winners. Ethical leadership and service are at the forefront of the Academy experience. To have these two recent graduates recognized by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity is quite an honor for them and the Academy.”
Mueller took time to thank USMMA Director of Ethics, Capt. Reed Bonadonna, USMS, for his continued support, “Together, we completed a 3-credit independent study during one trimester on ethical giving which developed into the essay submitted for the Prize in Ethics.” He added, “I've received a great deal of positive response from readers as all people cope with ethical giving situations daily, and the paper helps solve that issue of ‘How much, to whom, and why to give to others.’”
Mueller’s recommends midshipmen write about their Sea Year experience. “While we often share our ‘sea stories’ and captivate others in conversation; however, developing them through writing allows a deeper appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a Kings Pointer. From combining these real world experiences and independent academic study, every midshipman has the ability to write for this competition and beyond.”
Asaro, who was unable to attend the award ceremony due to his military service commitments, also had advice for the Academy’s midshipmen. “Ethics is at the base of what we do! To be ‘well esteemed’ by those we work for (and those who work for us) we must eternally dedicate ourselves to that which is right. Develop your sense of responsibility early, and sharpen it often. It will serve you well moving forward.”
Elie Wiesel and his wife, Marion, established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity soon after he was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace. The Foundation's mission, rooted in the memory of the Holocaust, is to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality.
The Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest encourages students to write thought-provoking personal essays that raise questions, single out issues and offer rational arguments for ethical action. The contest is open to undergraduate full-time juniors and seniors registered at accredited four-year colleges or universities in the United States.
To read Ensign Andrew Mueller’s entire essay, please click:
To read Ensign Joshua Asaro’s entire essay, please click:
By Veronica Cassidy Barry