The big idea for the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) came to our leading founder Eboo Patel in 1998 when he was at an interfaith conference at Stanford University. He and a small group of his peers realized they were the only young people at the conference, and their conversation turned to two questions.
- Why do so many stories about religion these days feature young people fighting in the name of God?
- Why isn’t there a huge movement of young people from different faiths working together to apply the core value of all faiths – service to others?
The answer came in a moment of inspiration: build an interfaith youth movement using service as the bridge.
As a graduate student at Oxford University, Eboo helped organize interfaith youth service projects in South Africa, India, and Sri Lanka. He returned to Chicago in 2001 and worked to launch the idea in the US with a focus on student leaders and college campuses. IFYC was incorporated in 2002 with a $35,000 grant from the Ford Foundation and one staff person. Our organization has outgrown a few offices since then, but our goal is the same.
Interfaith Youth Core seeks to make interfaith cooperation a social norm.
Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) seeks to make interfaith cooperation a social norm – a world where individuals have positive relationships across lines of faith and an appreciative understanding of the diverse traditions in our society; mosques, churches and synagogues have regular interfaith exchanges and engagements; college campuses support interfaith student councils; and cities have annual days of interfaith service. Too often, religion is a barrier of division or a bomb of destruction. IFYC believes faith can be a bridge of cooperation, strengthening our civil society and promoting the common good for all.
Better Together campaign - http://www.ifyc.org/better-together
Interfaith Leadership Institutes - http://www.ifyc.org/content/leadership-institutes
Campus Partnerships - http://www.ifyc.org/content/faculty-staff
International Partnerships - http://www.ifyc.org/content/international-projects
Goals for the future
Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) is a Chicago-based non-profit organization that seeks to make interfaith cooperation a social norm. IFYC works to change the public discourse about religion from one of inevitable conflict to one of cooperation and religious pluralism; nurture and network a critical mass of emerging interfaith leaders; and partner with college campuses to become models of interfaith cooperation. Since 2002, Interfaith Youth Core has worked on five continents and with over 200 college and university campuses, training thousands in the principles of interfaith leadership, and reaching millions through the media.
Interfaith Youth Core
910 W Van Buren St. 4th FL
Chicago, IL 60607
Media requests: Communications@ifyc.org
Speaking requests: SpeakerRequests@firstname.lastname@example.org