Eboo Patel delivering his lecture. Photo by Hannah Westbrook.
On October 24, 2018, Dickinson College welcomed Eboo Patel, a leading voice in the movement for interfaith cooperation and the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a national nonprofit working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm. He is the author of Acts of Faith, Sacred Ground and Interfaith Leadership. Named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Patel served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council. He is a regular contributor to the public conversation around religion in America and a frequent speaker on the topic of religious pluralism. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. For over fifteen years, Patel has worked with governments, social sector organizations, and college and university campuses to help realize a future where religion is a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. (Provided by the speaker)
Before Eboo Patel delivered his lecture, Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise, he led two workshops; one for students and one for faculty and staff.
The student workshop focused on navigating complexities of interfaith work and how to appreciate the value of all people in our diverse democracy. Patel started the workshop with a case study that prompted discussion questions for students. Aidan Birth ‘21, reflected on the case study that Patel shared, “I was interested in a story he talked about to prove that people of totally opposite faith and social backgrounds can still come together through faith activities to promote a common cause, which is an amazing testimony considering how religion has often been used as a means of division.” When Patel brought the group back for a larger discussion, he made sure to bring different perspectives into the mix to create a deeper discussion. Mychal Herber ‘19 described the workshop as a “great opportunity for students to learn from an experienced, world-renowned speaker and leader in interfaith activism.”
Patel’s lecture discussed America’s religious history and highlighted interfaith leaders. Patel explored the following questions: America is the most religiously devout country in the Western world and the most religiously diverse nation on the planet. Will America’s identity as a Judeo-Christian nation shift as citizens of different backgrounds grow in numbers and influence? In what ways will minority religious communities themselves change as they take root in American soil? Patel led an engaging and thought-provoking lecture. A book sale and signing followed the event.
To watch Patel's lecture, please visit the Clarke Forum's webpage here.
The Center for Spirituality and Social Justice would like to thank many of the co-sponsors who made this event possible: the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues, The Marjorie M. and Irwin Nat Pincus Fund in Honor of their Daughters, The Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life, the Division of Student Life, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness & Inclusivity, the Departments of Judaic Studies and Religion, the First Year Seminar Program and the Churchill Fund. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.
Photo by Hannah Westbrook.