The NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) and the Central Sikh Gurdwara Board (CSGB) announced today the establishment of a Visiting Professorship in Sikh Studies with the aim of promoting academic scholarship in Sikh studies both in Singapore and globally. This is the first Sikh studies professorship to be set up in Asia, outside the Indian subcontinent.
To commence in 2023, the Visiting Professorship will be administered by the NUS FASS South Asian Studies Programme. The CSGB aims to raise S$1.2 million for an endowment fund to support the Visiting Professorship, with donations receiving dollar-for-dollar matching by the government. This collaboration between CSGB and NUS FASS was formalised today at a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony at the Central Sikh Gurdwara (Central Sikh Temple). The MoU was signed by Mr Dilbagh Singh, President of CSGB, and Professor Lionel Wee, Dean of NUS FASS. It was witnessed by Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, and Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar GRC (Whampoa), who attended the event as Guest-of-Honour. The MoU signing was held on the sidelines of Vesakhi, a significant event for Sikhs to celebrate the birth of the Khalsa which was established in 1699.
Commenting on the Visiting Professorship, Mr Baljit Singh, Board Member of CSGB, said, “We recognise the importance of raising awareness of Sikh philosophy, including arts, culture, values and history, the Sikh way of life, and the study of the Sikh and Punjabi communities globally, not only amongst NUS students but also in the wider community. We began our fundraising efforts in 2019 in conjunction with the 550th birthday of the founder of Sikhism – Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji. These efforts were delayed when the COVID-19 pandemic struck but we are glad they are now back in full-swing. We believe the professorship will leave a legacy for young Sikhs and help Asians gain a better understanding of Sikhism and the Sikh Diaspora.”