Sikh Foundations 50th Anniversary Gala and Conference

The Sikh Foundation International celebrated its 50th Anniversary fom On May 5th through 7th, 2017. Guests from all over the world including Canada, United Kingdom, Europe and India gathered to celebrate and commemorate 50 years of service of the Sikh Foundation. The celebration began with a glorious Gala on May 5th at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, California, attended by 240 guests. Twenty students were offered free attendance and could mingle and network with guests. It was a marvelous evening that began with a tour through the Sikh Art Exhibit – SAINTS AND KINGS: ARTS, CULTURE, AND LEGACY OF THE SIKHS (the exhibit will continue through June 25, 2017).

The tour was followed by cocktails and a stunning dance performance by the Dholrhythms Dance Company. An exotic Indian dinner, was served in the elegant Samsung Hall which was decorated in the most exquisite and tasteful decor.

Canada’s Defense Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, the keynote speaker at the Sikh Foundation’s 50th Anniversary gala held at the Asian Art Museum May 5, said Indian Americans must focus on the potential of the next generation. “Every time I look at child, instead of just looking at what state that they’re in, wow, what could this person be if they had the opportunity?” stated the defense minister.

Sajjan stated his belief that every child is born with a gift, and must be mentored to find their special talents. He said the Sikh Foundation’s 50th anniversary celebrations were important, because “we need to look at the past to look at where we’re going to be in the future.”

Sajjan noted that the Sikh Foundation was already working hard to mentor youth. “I’m really looking at you for all of your leadership. “How do we work together to make a difference in this world? If we focus on the youth, we really can do so.”

Dignitaries from around the world attended the celebrations, which honored the foundation’s first 50 years and also welcomed the next chapter. Founded Dec. 20, 1967, by Narinder Kapany — a pioneer in the field of fiber optics — the Sikh Foundation is a cultural organization that works to promote and preserve Sikh art, heritage, education, culture, and religion.

The organization’s objectives include passing on the Sikh heritage to Sikh youth and the community’s growing diaspora, and contributing the Sikh perspective to global concerns.

In its 50 years, the foundation has published numerous books and articles, established Sikh studies chairs in colleges and universities, and organized art exhibits around the world. The foundation represents the first “concerted effort of Sikhs worldwide,” and its work, in particular the Sikh Research Journal, has created a “mindshift” about Sikhs and Sikh culture in the U.S. and around the world, Sonia Dhami, the Sikh Foundation’s executive director, told India-West.

The Sikh Foundation honored Satinder Kaur Kapany, Narinder’s late wife, at the event. Kiran Kaur Kapany, their daughter and foundation trustee. The dinner also featured a musical performance by the Raj Academy, a violin and tabla performance by Raginder Singh and Shobit Banwait, a sitar and tabla performance by Tej Anand and Jasprit Singh, and a second dance performance by the Dholrhythms dance company.

Commenting on the foundation’s future endeavors Dhami said: “How will Sikh Studies evolve to take on the challenges of the future? How will the arts appeal to future generations? How can the connection with our past heritage be maintained? These are some of the questions we think about as we celebrate 50 years of the Sikh Foundation and continue in our mission to inspire, educate and engage communities around the world,” she said.

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