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Dr. Eboo Patel awarded Hofstra’s Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize for 2012

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Hempstead, NY: Dr. Eboo Patel, the president and founder of a global grassroots, interfaith network of college students that has reached more than 200 campuses and worked on five continents, has been awarded Hofstra’s 2012 Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, President Stuart Rabinowitz announced today.
Patel, a Rhodes Scholar who was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and World Report, received four separate nominations for the Guru Nanak Prize out of the multiple nominations made for the 2012 award. The selection committee’s decision was unanimous, said Bernard Firestone, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

“Dr. Patel is a dynamic young leader who is fiercely committed to the principles the Guru Nanak award was created to honor-cooperation, understanding, service and peaceful dialogue,” Firestone said. “That he has focused his efforts on engaging young people, and promoted these values on college and university campuses, only serves to highlight the role such institutions can and should play in fostering a better understanding among people of different faiths and beliefs.”
“This is the third time we are awarding the prize,” Firestone said, “and the nominations have gotten stronger and stronger with each successive cycle.”

The $50,000 prize is bestowed every two years to recognize significant work to increase interfaith understanding. A formal award presentation is planned for Spring 2012. The first Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize was awarded in 2008 to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. In 2010, co-recipients of the prize were the organization Religions for Peace and Rabbi Arthur Schneier.

“What an overwhelming honor to be named the recipient of the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize,” Patel said. “I am proud to be part of an organization, the Interfaith Youth Core, and a broader interfaith movement dedicated to the idea that faith is a bridge of cooperation, not a barrier of division.”

A Muslim born in India and raised in Chicago, Dr. Patel’s interest in peaceful advocacy for tolerance and change was sparked by his childhood experiences with prejudice, and later cemented by his study of leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela.

He founded the Interfaith Youth Core in 1998 after attending an interfaith conference at Stanford University where he was inspired to see young people take interfaith action. The organization, which was incorporated in 2002, trains students through interfaith leadership institutes across the country to build interfaith cooperation on their campuses and organize service projects that have an impact on their campus and community. IFYC also provides customized training and consulting services to faculty and staff on various colleges and universities to help make interfaith cooperation a priority issue in higher education.

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