VILLANOVA, Pa. – Eboo Patel, author of Acts of Faith: The Story of An American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, believes that the power of a growing interfaith youth movement committed to promoting tolerance, pluralism and religious identity has the potential to be world-changing. Patel’s book was chosen as Villanova University’s 2017 One Book Villanova program selection. In Acts of Faith, Patel —who will visit the University Tuesday, Sept. 19—explores what it means to grow up Muslim in America and how energizing youth by connecting faith, diversity and service can counteract what he terms, “religious totalitarianism.”
Patel is also the founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international nonprofit building the interfaith youth movement. He was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The author’s visit, which coincides with the opening of the University’s annual St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration—an event which honors the University’s patron saint known for his great charity to the poor and marginalized—will include afternoon campus interfaith training events for Villanova students. A One Book Community Dinner honoring the author, and featuring cuisine inspired by the book, will be held from 4:15-7:30 p.m. in Dougherty Hall. Tickets are available online at villanovatix for $10; $14.25 if purchased at the door.
The culminating event, Patel’s presentation, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center. Tickets are not required. A reception and book signing, at which Patel’s books will be available for purchase, will be held immediately following his lecture in the Villanova Room. The One Book Community Dinner, lecture, reception and book signing are open to the public.
“This is a time of great unrest across the country and college campuses are not immune,” Teresa A. Nance, PhD, Associate Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, and One Book Villanova committee co-chair said. “Eboo Patel represents that calming voice of reason we all need to hear. His message is not just about faith, or understanding or even religious pluralism. Eboo Patel’s most important message is a message of hope—hope that our students can find common ground to work together, to talk together and ultimately to move our country forward together. This is a message we all need to hear.”
Patel’s appearance as featured speaker of The St. Thomas of Villanova Lecture kicks off the University’s 12th annual St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, which includes a full slate of events throughout the weekend – the capstone of which is the University’s St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service on Sept. 23.
One Book Villanova is a distinctive educational program that engages all segments of the campus community – students, staff and faculty – in activities presented throughout the academic year which explore dominant themes presented in a selected book. Discussion groups, public readings and special events will enliven and extend the campus community’s examination of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation.
Details about the author’s visit, the One Book Villanova program, and additional future events open to the public are available on the University’s One Book Villanova Website.
Other selections featured since the One Book Villanova program began in 2005 include The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni; Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy Tyson; Left To Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza; The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls; Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji; The Unforgiving Minute by Craig Mullaney; Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford; Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan; Good Kings, Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum; The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore; The Distance Between Us: A Memoir by Reyna Grande and The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.