Eboo Patel, eminent interfaith leader, to visit Saint Martin’s for public lecture
Lacey, Washington — Saint Martin’s University will welcome nationally recognized interfaith leader and
author Eboo Patel, Ph.D. to campus Thursday, Oct. 3, as the distinguished speaker for the University’s
inaugural Benedictine Institute Lecture. The new lecture series will explore issues of faith and community.
Patel’s presentation on Oct. 3 will take place at 7 p.m. in Saint Martin’s Marcus Pavilion, 5300 Pacific
Ave. SE, Lacey. Entry is free and open to the public; those planning to attend are asked to R.S.V.P. online.
Patel is founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, an organization established to unite young
people of different faith backgrounds around service and dialogue. It is powered by the belief that acts of
meaningful service built around interfaith cooperation and understanding provide common ground for people of
all belief traditions — religious and non-religious — and lead to a society characterized by mutual respect.
Patel has won recognition internationally, and in 2009, was named by US News & World Report as one of
America’s best leaders. His speaking engagements have taken him before the Clinton Global Initiative and the
Nobel Peace Prize Forum, among others. He has served on President Barack Obama’s inaugural Advisory Council
of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and on the Department of Homeland
Security’s Faith-based Advisory Council. Patel is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Wofford
University’s 2013 Sandor Teszler Award for Moral Courage and Service to Humanity, and Hofstra University’s 2012
Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize for significant contributions to interfaith dialogue in pursuit of peace.
A Muslim born in India and raised outside of Chicago, Patel asserts that religion can be a unifying force —
a conviction kindled by his childhood encounters with intolerance and prejudice. Patel’s confidence in society’s
ability to embrace diversity rather than be torn apart by it was inspired by his studies of social justice
advocates such as Mahatma Ghandi, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day and Nelson Mandela.
Saint Martin’s Associate Dean of Students John Hopkins, whose Office of Intercultural Initiatives leads
diversity and service efforts on campus, has been instrumental in identifying ways to integrate Patel’s concepts
into the University’s long-standing Benedictine tradition. Patel’s upcoming visit is an initial step in this
process, says Hopkins, who hopes to involve neighboring communities and congregations throughout the Pacific
“Dr. Patel’s model of interfaith understanding and cooperation resonates with the mission and values of Saint
Martin’s, creating what I believe is a positive framework to teach and practice the University’s core themes of
faith, reason, service and community,” Hopkins explains. “Through the model, students gain insights into their
own religious identities and are given opportunities to engage other students from different faith traditions;
students are brought together to work cooperatively in intentional sites of service; and students are asked to
think critically about the world in which they live. All of this is done in the spirit of community.”
Patel, who has a doctorate in sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, is
the author of two books: Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation
and Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America. Acts of Faith, which tells the personal story
of Patel’s awakening to awareness of his own faith tradition, social justice, and other social and spiritual
issues, has been chosen by Saint Martin’s as the common book for its 2013-14 First-Year Seminar.
Saint Martin’s University is one of several colleges nationwide where Patel’s concepts are being put into
practice. The lecture is presented by Saint Martin’s University, with special support from Saint Martin’s Office
of Intercultural Initiatives, Office of Campus Ministry and Benedictine Identity Task Force.
To learn more, visit www.stmartin.edu/eboopatel.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year,
coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300
acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic
Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine
colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the
only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University
prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and
seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business,
education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more
than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from
many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300
more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at
Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint
Martin’s University website at
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