Promoting study of Sikhism in Canada: Concordia University introduces Guru Nanak Academic Chair

Canada is home to almost 500,000 Sikhs constituting nearly 1.4% of Canada’s population. It is also the first country in the world to officially adopt formal legislation to recognize April as Sikh Heritage Month with Ontario being the first province to declare it in 2013 followed by British Columbia in 2020. It is even very interesting to note that Canada has 18 Sikhs in their Parliament while India only has 13 Sikh MPs in the Lok Sabha.

Now Canada has taken a step forward to promote the study of Sikhism. The Concordia University in Montreal has set up a Guru Nanak Dev Academy Chair marking the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founding father of Sikhism. This is the first Chair on Sikh faith in Canada and is aimed at promoting the research and studies of the faith with another chair already set up at the University of Birmingham in Britain. In 2019, the Ministry of Human resources Development (MHRD) India had also raised the possibility of setting up the two chairs to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

The Chair will be supported by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Indo-Canadian Kochar family.

Apart from this, the Indian High Commission in Canada has also taken up the mission to introduce various initiatives to spread the teachings of Sikhism. In the city of Brampton, which is a Punjabi-dominated area, a road has also been named Guru Nanak Street to mark the occasion. What more, the city’s Civic Hospital which had named its emergency department after Guru Nanak Dev in 2007, has also unveiled a new related to Sikhism on its building.

Sikh immigrants in Canada have historical importance upholding the notions of equality, justice and service, contributing to the success of the country. Canada also has several schools established by the Sikh community which are being ranked in the top schools according to the Fraser Institute report card.

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