Eboo Patel grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, a young Muslim of Indian descent. Bullied by his classmates when young, he found his place in high school among a group of friends of diverse religious backgrounds. Acts of Faith describes his path of spiritual exploration of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and the Catholic Worker Movement, as Patel comes to embrace the positive values of religious pluralism. Seeing interfaith engagement and shared service as a crucial alternative to radicalism and religious violence, he founded the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) in 2002. Resonant with Villanova’s commitment to “engage diverse religious, intellectual and cultural traditions in a vigorous and respectful pursuit of truth and wisdom” (VU Mission Statement), the IFYC empowers student leaders at colleges and universities across the country to engage in service together as they build bridges of understanding across lines of religious difference.
Named by US News & World Report as one of America's Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo Patel is the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based organization building the interfaith movement on college campuses. Author of the books "Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America" (Beacon Press, 2012), and "Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation" (Beacon Press, 2010) which won the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion.
Eboo is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, NPR, and CNN. He served on President Obama's inaugural Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. He was an Ashoka Fellow, part of a select group of social entrepreneurs whose ideas are changing the world, and was recently awarded the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, an award given to an individual to enhance awareness of the crucial role of religious dialogue in the pursuit of peace.
Today, Eboo lives in Chicago with his wife, Shehnaz Mansuri, and their two sons.