By: Claire Kositzky Guest Writer
Well-known author, scholar and faith activist Eboo Patel visited Benedictine University to speak to students and faculty.
“Professor Rita George-Tvrtkovic from the Theology program contacted the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) and made all of the arrangements to bring Patel to campus,” commented Dr. Wilson Chen, associate professor of language and literature and assistant to the provost for international affairs. “It probably wouldn’t have been possible without Professor George-Tvrtkovic’s great communication with the staff at IFYC.”
“It’s an honor to be here at [BenU]. I see so many leaders and leadership opportunities here. This only makes our world a better place,” said Patel.
The lecture discussed faith and how society has progressed with being more accepting of other religions. Faculty, staff and students of BenU, as well as community members attended the lectured.
“I thought it was a really eye opening speech on how we can change our attitudes and overcome religious bridges to connect with those of other faiths,” comments BenU student Sarah Jaber.
Student Hadia Javed said, “I really liked it because it was a great lecture for those that have misunderstandings about Islam. That Thomas Jefferson had a Qur’an and I bet a lot of people did not know that including me!”
Patel was invited by the Academic Council on International Education (ACIE) to kick off International Education Week at Benedictine. The Global Studies program was founded last year with the goal of adding more educational programming to International Education Week.
After last year’s success, it was decided to make it an annual event. This year, Patel was invited by the board to speak.
The Benedictine community welcomed Patel with a lineup of activities. There was a faculty and staff session with him, followed by classes visiting him in Kindlon. In Coal Ben, there was a coffee hour just for students. Later on, there was a welcome reception following his lecture that took place at the fireside lounge in Krasa.
The lecture, which was catered, offered guests a selection of food from Indian, Caribbean and sushi cuisines. Throughout the lecture, Patel made a couple humorous references to his book, Acts of Faith.
Patel is not just a national leader, but a local celebrity as well. He grew up in the western suburb of Glen Ellyn. He attended Glenbard South High School and the University of Illinois.
He received his doctorate at Oxford University and founded the Interfaith Youth Core, which is a council formed to help youths get to know other faith backgrounds. He resides on the northside of Chicago with wife, Shenaz and son, Zayd.