Interfaith Leadership Today: Why it Matters

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On October 2nd, Eboo Patel took the stage in the Brown Lupton University Union Ballroom as this year’s honored speaker for the Daryl D. Schmidt Lectureship.

Over the past few years, Mr. Patel has become somewhat of a household name. He is Rhodes Scholar, founder of the Interfaith Leadership Core, author of three books, and served under Barack Obama on the Advisory Council for Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. He regularly speaks to audiences across the country, and jokingly refers to himself as “the Muslim Mr. Rogers”.

It’s hard not to notice Mr. Patel’s charisma. As a speaker, he performs with an enchanting rhetoric that captures the interest of anyone within radius. But more importantly, his primary message is one of stunning simplicity: we need more interfaith leadership.

During the Schmidt Lectureship, Mr. Patel astutely compared most people’s knowledge of the Muslim faith to the knowledge gained from simply watching the first minute of the evening news. The point of the comparison was simple: broad and often over-sensationalized generalizations about a subject are simply not enough. The reason for this lack of understanding? Education.

Texas Christian University’s core curriculum requires students to take a course in religion. But despite the school’s Christian affiliation, classes are offered to help students gain a better understanding of the role of religion around the world. TCU’s mission is to “educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community”. Understanding religion from a global perspective is a vital part of that mission.

View the full lecture on the TCU Religion Department’s website.