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Date: Apr 09, 2012
Dr. Eboo Patel, Hofstra’s 2012 Guru Nanak Interfaith Recipient, to Speak on April 18
Patel is founder of worldwide youth interfaith network and inaugural member of Advisory Council for White House Office
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – Dr. Eboo Patel, the president and founder of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)and recipient of the 2012 Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize will talk about leadership and grassroots activism on Wednesday April 18, 2012, at 4:30pm in the Helene Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center, South Campus. The presentation, “ACTS OF FAITH: INTERFAITH LEADERSHIP IN A TIME OF RELIGIOUS CRISIS” will be a conversation with Dr. Patel and the Hofstra community discussing his organization’s work and what he calls the “power of interfaith activity”. The event is from 4:30pm until 6:30pm and his most recent book “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation” will be on sale in the lobby of the theater. Dr. Patel will be formally awarded the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize later that day at a reception at the Garden City Hotel.See Photos and Video
from Dr. Patel's Presentation
Patel, a Rhodes Scholar who was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and World Report, received four separate nominations for the Guru Nanak Prize out of the multiple nominations made for the 2012 award. A Muslim born in India and raised in Chicago, Dr. Patel’s interest in advocacy for interfaith leadership and cooperation was sparked by his childhood experiences with prejudice, and later cemented by his study of leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
“Dr. Patel is a dynamic young leader who is fiercely committed to the principles the Guru Nanak award was created to honor – cooperation, understanding, service and peaceful dialogue,” said Dr. Bernard Firestone, dean of Hofstra’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “That he has focused his efforts on engaging young people, and promoted these values on college and university campuses, only serves to highlight the role such institutions can and should play in fostering a better understanding among people of different faiths and beliefs.”
Patel founded the Interfaith Youth Core in 1998 after attending a conference at Stanford University where he was inspired by seeing young people from different belief systems working together so constructively. The organization, which was incorporated in 2002, trains students through interfaith leadership institutes across the country to build interfaith cooperation on their campuses and organize service projects. IFYC’s Better Together campaign has had an impact on over 100 campuses.
IFYC also provides customized training and consulting services to faculty and staff at various colleges and universities to help make interfaith cooperation a priority issue in higher education.
In 2009, he was appointed to the inaugural advisory council for the White House Office on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion, awarded by the University of Louisville and the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, to individuals whose work significantly contributes to religious and spiritual understanding.
Patel also is the author of “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation”, editor of “Building the Interfaith Youth Movement” and contributor to many other books and has written a blog on religion for the Washington Post. He often appears in media outlets like USA Today and CNN. His upcoming book, to be published by Beacon Press in September, is Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America .
The $50,000 Guru Nanak prize is bestowed every two years to recognize significant work to increase interfaith understanding. The first Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize was awarded in 2008 to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. In 2010, co-recipients of the prize were the organization Religions for Peace and Rabbi Arthur Schneier.
The Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize was established with a gift from the family of Sardar Ishar Singh Bindra and Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra, prominent Sikh-Americans living in Brookville, New York. In September 2000, the Bindra family endowed the Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies at Hofstra University in honor of the family's matriarch. Tejinder Bindra currently serves as a University Trustee. The Bindras are deeply involved in philanthropic activities that benefit both the Sikh and non-Sikh communities. The Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize is an expression of Sardar Ishar Singh Bindra's longstanding dedication to interfaith harmony.
“What an overwhelming honor to be named the recipient of the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize,” Patel said. “I am proud to be part of an organization, the Interfaith Youth Core, and a broader interfaith movement dedicated to the idea that faith is a bridge of cooperation, not a barrier of division.”
“I want to thank the founders of this prize, the Sikh community, and the organizers at Hofstra University for their dedication to this highest of all ideals,” he said. “May God give us the strength to continue on this journey of building pluralism, and may we continue to take joy in traveling the path together.”
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution of higher education where more than 12,000 full and part-time students choose from undergraduate and graduate offerings in liberal arts and sciences, business, engineering, communication, education, health and human services, honors studies, a School of Law and the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.