Tomo Takaki, a graduate of Inglemoor High School who is currently a student at Yale Law School, is one of 12 law students and early-career attorneys chosen for the 2018 Law Program of the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) to participate in a two-week program in Germany and Poland this summer, which uses the conduct of lawyers and judges in Nazi-occupied Europe as a way to reflect on ethics in the legal profession today.
Now in its ninth year of operation, FASPE provides a unique historical lens to engage graduate students in professional schools as well as early-stage practitioners in five fields (business, journalism, law, medicine and seminary) in an intensive course of study focused on contemporary ethical issues in their professions.
The FASPE Law program offers an approach that differs from the usual classroom experience by providing a holistic curriculum that looks beyond the legal profession’s formal rules of ethics to the ethical problems faced by individual lawyers in the contemporary settings in which they practice.
Daily seminars are led by specialized faculty who engage fellows in discussions and critical thinking about both the historical and the contemporary. The Law program is strengthened by the diverse perspectives of its participants and the power of place and context.
“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 in a press release.
FASPE studies the perpetrators to emphasize the essential role of professionals and to ask how and why professionals abandon their ethical guideposts. The FASPE Law program examines the role of lawyers in the Nazi state, underscoring the reality that moral codes governing the legal profession can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences. With this historical background, the Law fellows are better positioned (and more willing) to confront contemporary issues.
“I hope to use the FASPE experience to shape my prism of ethical decision-making and inform my critical thinking during my law school and legal career,” said Takaki, a first-year law student at Yale in a press release. “The focus on ethical dilemmas is particularly important to me because of my interest in criminal law and policy.”
Takaki, who is from Bothell, WA, attended Inglemoor High School. He graduated from Tufts University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a minor in Arabic, and he received a master’s degree in security
studies from Georgetown University in 2015. While at Tufts, Takaki trained with the MIT Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program and then served six years in the Army Reserve. He has also worked as an AmeriCorps fellow serving people with disabilities who are experiencing long-term homelessness.
In 2018, the Law program will be led by Susan Carle, Professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law, and Eric Muller, Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law in Jurisprudence and Ethics at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Takaki joins a diverse group of 64 FASPE fellows across all five programs who were chosen through a competitive process that drew applicants from across the U.S. and the world. FASPE covers all program costs, including travel, food and lodging.
The experience of the Law fellows is enhanced by traveling alongside Business and Journalism fellows, who together—in formal and informal settings—consider how ethical constructs and norms in their respective professions align and differ. In 2018, the three groups will travel from May 20 through June 1, beginning their trip in Berlin and then traveling on to Krakow and Oświęcim (the town in which Auschwitz is located), Poland.
In Berlin, the program includes museum visits, meeting with a Holocaust survivor and educational workshops at the House of the Wannsee Conference, the site where state and Nazi Party agencies convened in 1942 to coordinate plans for the Nazis’ “Final Solution.” In Krakow, fellows will continue their seminars at Jagiellonian University, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities, and at Auschwitz, they will be guided by the distinguished educational staff of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
After the program, each fellow will submit an essay focused on a contemporary ethical issue of his or her choice. Select essays are published in the annual FASPE Journal, which showcases work in all five disciplines.
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 nearly 450 alumni across its five programs.
“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 executive director in a press release. “The centerpiece of these efforts is our annual Alumni Reunion & Symposium where fellows from all years discuss current issues in their respective fields and participate in various interdisciplinary networking activities.”