Distinguished interfaith leader Eboo Patel will present Oct. 23


The founder of Interfaith Youth Core and author of "Acts of Faith" will be the next Distinguished Speaker on the Oklahoma City University campus.

Eboo Patel will give a free public lecture at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Freede Center. The presentation, titled "Sacred Ground: There Is No Better Time to Stand Up for Your Values Than When They Are Under Attack," is co-sponsored by the Interfaith Alliance and OCU’s Owen Wimberly Center in Religion for Continuing Education.

Patel will be the latest in a stellar lineup of world-class thinkers, writers, and opinion-leaders to address audiences at OCU.

Patel is a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, and CNN. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.

Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Patel leads Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based organization working to build the interfaith movement on college campuses.

His book "Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation" won the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion. His latest book is "Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America."

Two OCU students and University Chaplain Rodney Newman recently traveled to a Chicago event to learn about Patel’s goal of engaging diverse religious and non-religious identities to build interfaith movements on campuses. In June, they attended the Interfaith Leadership Institute at Loyola University.

Religion junior Matt Patrick, from Claremore-First UMC, along with Samer Abdelkader, a Muslim student and biology senior from Oklahoma City, said they appreciated the opportunity to be part of a creative process of sharing their stories and hearing others’ stories of faith.

"The conference opened my eyes to a new definition of interfaith work," Patrick said. "I met all kinds of new people from many different faiths, and I was drawn to the idea of finding a way to make interfaith cooperation work back here in Oklahoma."

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