Jacob Saliba, a 2018 graduate of Ohio Dominican University, has earned third place in the prestigious 2018 Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest. His essay, “Why the Night Trilogy Matters: A Study of Faith and Courage in the Novels of Elie Wiesel,” was based on his senior Honors thesis.
Thousands of college juniors and seniors from around the country submitted essays to the Foundation as part of this year’s contest. Participants were required to identify an ethical issue they had encountered, and analyze what it taught them about ethics and themselves.
“Ethics is vitally important to society,” said Saliba. “I believe the human to be restless until it can trust in something that is trustworthy—something that moves the human to act out of kindness, empathy and compassion. I believe this act of trusting, the act of faith, to be perennially important to the study of ethics because without it beauty becomes hostility, love becomes hatred, truth becomes death, and hope becomes despair. It is my hope that the act of faith is not ignored but embraced.”
A Powell, Ohio native, Saliba graduated this past spring from ODU magna cum laude, where he double majored in Political Science and Economics, and participated in the Honors Program. He plans to attend Boston College in the fall to pursue a graduate degree in Political Philosophy. The Foundation will recognize him and other finalists this fall at an event in New York City. Saliba also will receive a $1,500 prize.
“On behalf of the entire Ohio Dominican community, I am thrilled and proud of Jacob for the recognition his profoundly moving submission received in this respected competition,” said ODU President Robert Gervasi, Ph.D. “At ODU, we aspire to prepare young adults to live full lives grounded in values, morals and ethics, and Jacob’s exploration of Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ is a testament to his depth of thought, and the mentoring of our dedicated faculty.”
“Over the years, thousands of students from prestigious universities have competed for a prize in ethics from the Elie Wiesel Foundation,” said John Marazita, Ph.D., chair of ODU’s Honors Program. “Jacob is a deserving recipient given his deep contemplation and commitment to social justice through the writing of his thesis.”
“I want to thank my professor and adviser, Dr. Ron Carstens, and my reading adviser, Sr. Joan Franks, OP, without both of whom this essay would not have accomplished what it did,” said Saliba. “At Ohio Dominican, I have learned two valuable lessons. First, good research takes hard work. Second, with great patience words can foster human growth, and they sustain dialogue in the human person's search for meaning. I believe that my understanding of both of these truths culminated in my essay, ‘Why the Night Trilogy Matters.’”
The late Elie Wiesel was a Nobel-Prize winning writer, teacher and activist known for his memoir “Night,” in which he recounted his experiences surviving the Holocaust. 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 Foundation's Prize in Ethics Essay Contest was established in 1989 and attracts thousands of essay submissions from college students across the country each year.