The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and LRN Announce Student Winners of the 2018 Prize in Ethics Essay Contest


NEW YORK, Oct. 11, 2018 — The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and its partner in the Prize in Ethics Essay Contest, Dov Seidman and LRN, announced today that Megan Phan, Class of 2017 from Syracuse University, is the first place winner of the 2018 Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest.

Phan, a Neuroscience and Chemistry double major who also minored in Biology, considered how to build trust between communities of color and law enforcement amid heightened tensions in her winning essay, “Dear Dad: A Long-Overdue Confrontation with Black and Blue.” As Phan writes: “We all possess varying degrees of ignorance, and we should not be ashamed of this. We should embrace our ignorance and then get to work – to read more, converse more, engage more. Not doing so is counterintuitive to any future toward social cohesion.”

The Prize in Ethics Essay Contest is an annual competition that challenges college students to address the urgent and complex ethical issues that confront us in the modern world through their writings. The Prize was founded in 1989 by Professor Elie Wiesel and his wife Marion Wiesel. Since its inception, thousands of young people have written essays for consideration. Professor Wiesel passed away in 2016, and The Elie Wiesel Foundation and LRN are continuing the Prize in Ethics in honor of Professor Wiesel’s memory and legacy.

Also recognized in this year’s contest are Sarah Hagerty of Eckerd College who received second prize and Jacob Saliba of Ohio Dominican University who received third prize. Areeba Khwaja of The University of Texas at Austin and Ana Barkley of Winthrop University were both recognized with honorable mentions. The winning essays can be found on the Foundation’s website:

“One of Professor Elie Wiesel’s enduring lessons, which is ever more relevant to our times, is that ‘Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.’ The winners of the 2018 Prize in Ethics have embraced this imperative and have carefully considered issues we face as a society, and as individuals, as wide ranging as how to overcome deep division by embracing vulnerability, our personal interconnectedness to historical events and the path to building empathy through critical self-reflection. We are so proud of their accomplishments and look forward to supporting them as they forge ahead in their careers and journeys as moral leaders,” said Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN.

About The Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest 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 who are registered at accredited four-year colleges or universities in the United States. All submissions to the essay contest are judged anonymously. Winning essays present intensely personal stories, originality, imagination, and clear articulation and convey genuine grappling with an ethical dilemma. For suggested essay topics and more information, visit

About The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity 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. For more information:, “like” us on Facebook, or follow @eliewieselfdn on Twitter.

About LRN: Inspiring Principled Performance Since 1994, ethics & compliance firm LRN has helped companies simultaneously navigate complex legal and regulatory environments and foster ethical cultures. LRN works with companies to translate their values into concrete corporate practices and leadership behaviors that create sustainable competitive advantage. LRN has offices in major cities and regions around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Mumbai, Paris and South America. For more information, visit, find us on Twitter @LRN, or call: 800 529 6366 or 646 862 2040.

Contact: Devin Tilitz Sommerfield Communications (212) 255-8386 [email protected]

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