Business & Society

Interfaith Leader to Reveal How Religion Can Become a Bridge of Cooperation

Eboo Patel, the founder and president of the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, will talk about how religion can be a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division on Thursday, Sept. 4, at Utah State University’s Kent Concert Hall in the Daryl Chase Fine Arts Center. Patel founded the Interfaith Youth Core, an organization building the interfaith movement on college campuses, to counter the growing problem of religious intolerance.

Named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Patel is the author of three books about interfaith cooperation and is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, NPR and CNN.

Patel’s convocation entitled “Building Bridges of Interfaith Cooperation” begins at 7 p.m. He will also be featured on Utah Public Radio’s “Access Utah” at 9 a.m. on Aug. 27.

Patel 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.

Bonnie Glass-Coffin, USU anthropology professor and the organizer of the convocation, cites awareness of other religions as the first step toward interfaith cooperation. Respondents to a Pew Research Center survey were able to correctly answer less than half of the questions about major world religions.

“The future of our world depends upon leaders who are not only literate about other religions, but who can bridge the faith divide,” said Glass-Coffin.

She points to a line that Patel frequently uses when discussing religious diversity: “Interfaith interactions can be a bomb of destruction, a barrier of division, a bubble of isolation, or a bridge of cooperation.”

USU senior Allison Fife recently attended Interfaith Youth Core’s leadership institute in Chicago. Fife said the highlight was hearing success stories from around the country about the incredible things that students were able to accomplish on their campuses through interfaith action and service. The undergraduate research fellow and Huntsman scholar plans to develop an interfaith organization on the USU campus.

The event is sponsored by a number of USU and community entities, including the Office of the President; Vice President for Student Services; Diversity Council; College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHaSS) and the CHaSS  Advising Center; Caine College of the Arts; Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology; Religious Studies Program; Access and Diversity Center; Housing and Residence Life; Center for Civic Engagement & Service-Learning; Dining Services; LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Institute; LDS Church Public Affairs; Cache Community Connections; Cache Valley Unitarian Universalists; Logan Islamic Center; Prince of Peace Lutheran Church; Logan First Presbyterian Church; St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church; St. John’s Episcopal Church, and multiple private donations.

For more information about the event, see the USU Religious Studies website or email

Contact: Bonnie Glass-Coffin, 435-797-4064;

Writer: Amanda DeRito, 435-797-2759;

Eboo Patel will speak at Utah State University

Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, will speak on the USU campus Thursday, Sept. 4. In his presentation he will discuss how religion can be a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division.


Society 270stories Diversity & Inclusion 75stories Religion 18stories

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