Join us for an SOF Digital Discussion on featuring Harrington Spear Paine Professor at Princeton University and Aspen Institute Trustee Elaine Pagels in conversation with the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core Eboo Patel about the integral role that faith and spirituality play in the face of social uncertainty and transformation.
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Elaine Pagels, a historian of religion, is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor at Princeton University and an Aspen Institute Trustee. Pagels joined the Princeton faculty in 1982, shortly after receiving a MacArthur Fellowship. Perhaps best known as the author of “The Gnostic Gospels,” “The Origin of Satan,” and “Adam, Eve and the Serpent,” she has published widely on Gnosticism and early Christianity, and continues to pursue research interests on topics that include sexuality and politics, visions, and the origins of Christian anti-semitism. Her most recent books include “Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas” (was on The New York Times best-seller list) and “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation” (2012). Her most recent book is departure from the others. one in which she tells her own story, and why she loves investigating the history of religion: it’s called “Why Religion? A Personal Story.” In 2013 she received an honorary law degree from her alumni, Harvard University, and, in 2016, the National Medal for the Arts from President Barack Obama.
Eboo Patel is the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a non-profit organization that is working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America. He is the author of four books and dozens of articles, has spoken on more than 150 campuses, and served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council.
Born in Mumbai, Eboo grew up as an Ismaili Muslim in the western suburbs of Chicago, experiencing bigotry, but also taking inspiration from friends and neighbors from diverse backgrounds. As a student at the University of Illinois, he was involved in social justice work and soon came to realize that the leaders he respected most, found their inspiration in faith. While earning a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship, Eboo began organizing interfaith projects around the world, laying the groundwork for what would become IFYC. Over two decades, he has led the organization from a handful of volunteers to a nationwide non-profit that empowers students and educators on almost six hundred U.S. college and university campuses.
Eboo is an Ashoka Fellow, a member of the Young Global Leaders Network of the World Economic Forum and has served on the Religious Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Committee of the Aga Khan Foundation. He was named a Future Policy Leader by the Harvard Kennedy School Review in 2008 and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report in 2009. He has been awarded the Louisville Grawemeyer Prize in Religion, the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, the El Hibri Peace Education Prize, the Council of Independent Colleges Academic Leadership Award, along with honorary degrees from 15 colleges.
Recognized as a key voice in national discussions around religious diversity and civic engagement, Eboo’s contributions include the books Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation; Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America; Interfaith Leadership: A Primer; and Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise. His op-eds and interviews have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, on National Public Radio, and The PBS NewsHour. He also publishes a regular blog for Inside Higher Ed, called ‘Conversations on Diversity’.