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Eboo Patel Awarded the 2010 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion

Book cover for Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core, won the 2010 Louisville Grawemeyer award in religion for his autobiography, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. He was selected from among 67 nominations worldwide.

Patel's organization, based in Chicago, encourages young people of different religions to perform community service, explore common values and build bridges among diverse faiths. The organization is now active on about 75 college campuses.

"Religious extremists all over the world are harnessing adolescent angst for their own ends," said Susan Garrett, a religion professor who directs the award. "Patel urges us to take advantage of the short window of time in a young person's life to teach the universal values of cooperation, compassion and mercy."

Patel was born in India to a Muslim family and immigrated to Chicago as a child. As a teenager, he struggled with what he saw as a lack of religious pluralism in America. His experiences prompted him to launch a movement to build interfaith cooperation by inspiring college students to champion the cause.

He formed Interfaith Youth Core in 1998.

A Rhodes Scholar, he is now a member of President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Religious Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations. In October, U.S. News & World Report named him one of America's Best Leaders in 2009.

The Grawemeyer Awards are five annual $200,000 prizes given in the fields of music, political science, psychology, education, and religion. They were founded by H. Charles Grawemeyer to help make the world a better place. The University of Louisville and Louisville Presbyterian Seminary jointly award the religion prize.

Read more about the award and see winners in other categories at its website: www.grawemeyer.org.

Related Articles

Louisville Courier-Journal: Efforts to bridge religious divide among youths earns man Grawemeyer award

Chicago Tribune: Eboo Patel is a man of interfaith

Recent posts by Eboo Patel on Beacon Broadside

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I'm writing from Toronto, where last night I gave a plenary address on Muslim-Jewish cooperation to the Biennial conference of the Union for Reform Judaism. Backstage after the address, my friend Rabbi David Saperstein gave me a grim look and said, "The shooter had a Muslim name." Read more.

Interfaith Solidarity During Ramadan
Brian McLaren, the great Christian writer and activist, called me up a few weeks ago with a remarkable request: Would I be his fasting partner during Ramadan? He explained to me that there was a long-held Christian tradition of fasting, although it is not practiced much in contemporary Christian communities. Brian's goal was to live more fully into that Christian tradition during Ramadan, while also feeling solidarity with Muslim communities. Read more.