NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Central Sikh Gurdwara Board establish Visiting Professorship in Sikh studies
First Sikh studies professorship to be set up in Asia, outside the Indian subcontinent
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.”
About the Visiting Professorship in Sikh Studies
The Visiting Professorship in Sikh Studies will attract distinguished scholars in the field. Aside from assuming stewardship for enhancing research from an academic perspective, the appointed Visiting Professor will teach elective modules open to students in NUS FASS as well as other faculties in the University.
The Visiting Professor will also conduct public seminars for the Sikh community, in coordination with CSGB. Administered by the NUS FASS South Asian Studies Programme, the first professorship will commence in 2023 with each professorship lasting a term of five months.
“Understanding and appreciating cultural and ethnic diversity is becoming an increasing global priority. NUS FASS is very pleased to partner with CSGB in this pioneer endeavour and to play a part in facilitating understanding in Singapore and the region. It is a welcome opportunity for students to not only learn more about Sikh culture and its way of life through academic scholarship, but also to amplify research findings to a broader audience through planned public lectures. The introduction to Sikh Studies through this new professorship is another step that the Faculty is pursuing to create more opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of diverse cultures in society,” said Prof Lionel Wee.
The global search for the Visiting Professor will begin in May 2022 and the first teaching module is expected to be introduced in January 2023. Head of the South Asian Studies Programme Associate Professor Rajesh Rai said, “There are about 15 renowned experts in the field and we hope to attract scholars who may be interested to spend some time at NUS, to impart their knowledge through teaching and to further their research. This is a great opportunity”.
Members of the public and organisations are encouraged to donate to this worthy cause here.