Joshua DuBois heads the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Last February, President Barack Obama appointed then-26-year-old DuBois to the post.
Supporters say, don’t be fooled by DuBois’ age, describing him as very capable and a gifted relationship-builder in religious circles and beyond. Born in Bar Harbor, Maine, DuBois was raised in Nashville, Tenn., where his stepfather worked as a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
DuBois holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston University and a master’s in public affairs from Princeton. He was pursuing a law degree when he heard then-U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama’s keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. Inspired, DuBois decided to suspend his studies and go work for Obama’s campaign. But DuBois’ application was met with a form rejection letter. Determined not to be denied, he drove to Obama’s office, persistently requested an interview, and was hired as an aide to work on faith-based outreach.
When Sen. Obama ran for president, DuBois was director of religious affairs for the campaign. As such, he helped orchestrate Obama’s participation in Rick Warren’s Presidential Forum during the campaign. He arranged Obama’s meeting with other key religious leaders such as Bishop T.D. Jakes. DuBois also strongly backed the controversial selection of Warren for the inaugural invocation.
In his current White House position, DuBois oversees a council of 25 influential religious and nonprofit leaders and scholars. His office is charged with helping such groups improve their communities, by aiding in economic recovery, promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation, and taking steps to strengthen at-risk American families.
In announcing DuBois’ appointment, President Obama said, “Joshua understands the issues at stake, knows the people involved, and will be able to bring everyone together — from both the secular and faith-based communities, from academia and politics — around our common goals.”
DuBois’ position also has a global outlook. President Obama has called on DuBois to establish an interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world.