Release: August 29, 2016
GAMBIER, Ohio — Eboo Patel, the founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core, will give a talk at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, at Kenyon College on interfaith understanding and collaboration among young people.
Patel is a recognized leader in the movement to promote cooperation among different faiths. In 2009, he was chosen to be on the inaugural Advisory Council in the White House’s newly created Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. His speech in Rosse Hall, 105 College Drive, is free and open to the public.
Through the Interfaith Youth Core, Patel works to make interfaith activism and religious tolerance a social norm, especially on college campuses. The group has worked with students at more than 200 colleges and universities worldwide to lead interfaith and community service events on their campuses. In his books Acts of Faith and Sacred Ground, Patel argues for the value of communication across religious differences, especially in the current highly polarized political environment.
“Interfaith cooperation should be more than five people in a book club,” Patel said in a 2011 New York Times feature on his work. “You need a critical mass of interfaith leaders who know how to build relationships across religious divides, and see it as a lifelong endeavor.”
Patel was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report in 2009. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes scholar.
“We are at a point in our lives where people from different backgrounds with differing values are interacting much more frequently,” said Marc Bragin, director of spiritual and religious life and Jewish chaplain. “What does that mean for how we connect with each other? Eboo can help us further understand what it means to truly be an accepting and supportive community.”
Students, faculty and staff members will have opportunities to consider Patel’s message through reading groups focusing on Acts of Faith, an autobiographical account of Patel’s experience growing up Muslim in America. Prior to his evening talk in Rosse Hall, Patel will read from Acts of Faith at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, in Finn House’s Cheever Room, 102 West Wiggin Street.
Patel’s talk is sponsored by the Program of American Studies; the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Faculty Lectureships; the Office of the President and the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life. His book reading is sponsored by the Kenyon Review.
After his talk, Patel will sign copies of his latest book, Interfaith Leadership: A Primer, published earlier this summer.