Eboo Patel

Founder and President

Author, Speaker, Educator, and Interfaith Leader

Eboo Patel is a civic leader who believes that religious diversity is an essential and inspiring dimension of American democracy. Named “one of America’s best leaders” by U.S. News and World Report, Eboo is Founder and President of Interfaith America, the leading interfaith organization in the United States. Under his leadership, Interfaith America has worked with governments, universities, private companies, and civic organizations to make faith a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. 

Eboo served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council, has given hundreds of keynote addresses, and has written five books, including We Need to Build: Field Notes for Diverse Democracy. He is an Ashoka Fellow and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. Eboo lives in Chicago with his wife, Shehnaz, and their two sons.

Eboo Patel standing facing camera

Defeat the things you do not love by building the things you do.

Latest Podcast Episodes

Interfaith America with Eboo Patel

Latest by Eboo

Inside Higher Ed

Teach Your Students to Be Builders, Not Critics

Highlight to them all the ways that they are already powerful, and emphasize that their purpose should be to increase their power and use it responsibly. Teach them the skills and knowledge to defeat the things they do not love by building the things they do.

Chicago Tribune

Eboo Patel: Our world needs social change agents. Here’s how to be an effective activist.

The goal of social change is not a more ferocious revolution; it is a more beautiful social order. We need to defeat the things we do not love by building the things we do.


Eboo Patel And The Vision For An Interfaith America

This book is for anyone tired of the divisiveness and ill will in our society, and who seeks a constructive way to strengthen our diverse democracy.

The New York Times

What I Want My Kids to Learn About American Racism

I lost sight of many things, like how fortunate I was to be a middle-class college student spending my days reading and the role I had in building something better. I was in a conspiracy against my own agency.

Chicago Tribune

Jane Addams’ example shows the way toward creating social change and restoring unity

America is at a molten moment and needs constructive social change agents to shape it for the better. Young people can find their purpose in serving their communities and may even find themselves launching institutions and movements that wind up renewing American democracy.

USA Today

Colleyville standoff: Martin Luther King taught us how Jews and Muslims can live together

In the spirit of Dr. King and in the footsteps of Rabbi Cytron-Walker, we commit to making our bridges of cooperation so strong that the bombs of hate cannot destroy them.

Work with Eboo

Eboo Patel’s publications, interviews, and appearances include the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN, among many others. For media requests, contact Teri Simon at [email protected].

Eboo Patel consults with corporations, civic organizations, government, higher education organizations, and campuses. Contact Teri Simon at [email protected]  for more information.

Eboo Patel delivers keynotes for corporations, civic organizations, government, higher education organizations, and campuses. Contact Teri Simon at [email protected] for more information.


We Need to Build: Field Notes for Diverse Democracy

“A blueprint and a guidebook for an inclusive twenty-first-century democracy.” — Van Jones

Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation

“A beautifully written story of discovery and hope.” — President Bill Clinton

Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise

“A field guide to the critical territory we have traversed in this eventful, young century.” — Krista Tippett

Interfaith Leadership: A Primer

“Eboo Patel is one of the most inspiring and successful interfaith leaders on the national, and even international, scene.” — Paul F. Knitter

Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America

“A refreshing, thought-provoking, myth-smashing, and deeply patriotic exploration of American identity and ideals.” — Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

Keynotes & Videos