Eboo Patel

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Eboo Patel
Eboo Patel 2013.jpg
Patel in 2013
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
Oxford University
Academic work
Notable ideasInterfaith Youth Core

Eboo Patel was a member of President Barack Obama's inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.[1][2] He is an American Ismaili of Gujarati Indian heritage and founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core,[3] a Chicago-based international nonprofit that aims to promote interfaith cooperation.[4]


Patel grew up in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where he attended Glenbard South High School.[5] He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for his undergraduate studies and earned a degree in Sociology.[6] He has a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.

Patel details his life and career extensively in his 2007 autobiography, Acts of Faith. In the book, Patel notes that he became interested in religious diversity in college, where he noticed that conversations on multiculturalism and multiple identities did not involve religious identity. After graduating from college, he taught at an alternative education program for high school dropouts in Chicago and, inspired partly by Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker movement, founded a cooperative living community for activists and artists in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.[5]:61–69 As an activist, Patel felt that diversity, service, and faith were important parts of civic life but found no community organization that touched on all three, specifically one that worked with young people.[5]:74 In response, he developed the idea for the Interfaith Youth Core,[7] formulated through his relationship with Brother Wayne Teasdale and blessed by the Dalai Lama, that would bring young people of different faiths together around service and dialogue.[5]:74

While a student at Oxford, Patel ran numerous interfaith youth projects in India, Sri Lanka, and South Africa.[5]:123 He officially founded IFYC in 2002 with a Jewish friend and a $35,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.[8] Today the organization employs approximately 30 people and has a $4-million operating budget.[8]

In addition to his work with IFYC, Patel has spoken at numerous college campuses and conferences across the country. Patel and IFYC partnered with White House officials in developing President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, which invited schools across the nation to make interfaith cooperation a campus priority and launched in 2011.[8] His second book, Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America, was released in August 2012.



Honorary degrees[edit]


  • Eboo Patel (2018). Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-6911-8272-8.
  • Eboo Patel (2012). Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America. Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-7748-1.
  • Eboo Patel (2010). Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation (new edition). Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-0622-1.
  • Eboo Patel and Adam Davis (2009). Hearing the Call Across Traditions: Readings on Faith and Service. Skylight Paths Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59473-264-5.
  • Eboo Patel (2007). Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-7727-5.
  • Eboo Patel (2006). Building the Interfaith Youth Movement: Beyond Dialogue to Action.


  1. ^ US News: Obama Names Members of New Faith Advisory Council. Retrieved February 06, 2009.
  2. ^ LA Times: White House panel will guide faith-based programs. Retrieved February 06, 2009.
  3. ^ Youth Core Interfaith Youth Core
  4. ^ http://www.stanforddaily.com/cgi-bin/?p=2298
  5. ^ a b c d e Eboo Patel (2007). Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-7727-5.
  6. ^ http://pluralism.org/events/interfaculty/guestbios/patel.php
  7. ^ http://www.ifyc.org
  8. ^ a b c Goodstein, Laurie. “An Effort to Foster Tolerance in Religion.” The New York Times. June 13, 2011. Accessed August 9, 2012. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/us/14patel.html?_r=3.
  9. ^ Duke Islamic Study Center
  10. ^ Ashoka Fellow. Retrieved February 05, 2009.
  11. ^ http://www.dom.edu/rcas/lund-gill/
  12. ^ "DePaul University commencement ceremonies set for this weekend". DePaul Newsroom Archives. June 14, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  13. ^ http://www.claremontlincoln.org/news/2013/02/12/eboo-patel-to-be-commencement-speaker/
  14. ^ Brooks, Barbara (March 26, 2012). "Mark H. Murphy '77 is named 2012 commencement speaker". Colgate University News. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  15. ^ "Justice through a Jesuit Lens". The Commons (Seattle University). August 15, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2018.

External links[edit]