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ERIC Number: EJ1003434
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr-29
Pages: 0
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Eboo Patel Has a Dream
Blumenstyk, Goldie
Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr 2013
In his first book, "Acts of Faith," Eboo Patel describes his early encounters with interfaith events in the late 1990s. He was not impressed. "They were excruciatingly boring," he writes. Why so much talk and so little action, his restless, twenty-something self had wondered. "And where were the young people?" Fast forward a dozen years. Now 37, Mr. Patel is one of the most visible interfaith leaders in the nation. As the founder and president of a national organization that promotes interreligious understanding and action on college campuses, Mr. Patel has converted those old frustrations into a burgeoning new cause, an educational movement rooted in intellectual rigor and powered by academic aspirations. The organization, Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), has trained thousands of college students in techniques for learning about their religious differences and then finding common bonds among their faiths as they undertake projects like cleaning up a polluted river in Ohio, after-school tutoring in Minnesota, and combatting mountaintop removal by mining companies in West Virginia. The group also works with college deans to develop new courses, helps college presidents measure how receptive their campuses are to students of differing traditions, and teaches students how to handle questions about their own faiths while struggling to understand the practices of others. Since 2010, the organization has also been a key player in President Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, a program that involves more than 350 colleges. As IFYC has expanded its reach, so has Mr. Patel. His "Acts of Faith" (Beacon Press, 2007) has taken off as a popular campus read, and his second book, "Sacred Ground" (Beacon, 2012), looks like it may as well. He and the 35-person IFYC staff are now leading the charge to bring interfaith education from "niche to norm" throughout American higher education, just as diversity training and multiculturalism are now mainstays of the college experience.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A