On February 1, Claremont Lincoln University, a graduate school in southern California that focuses on multi-cultural and multi-religious education, will be inaugurating their new Center for Sikh Studies:
The Center plans to establish courses in Sikh Studies, to construct online resources on Sikh history and practice, to develop close ties with Sikh communities across Southern California, and eventually to establish an accredited Sikh graduate program in Sikh Studies.
It is both fitting and bittersweet that this historic new beginning is taking place after the tragedy of the Sikh shootings in Wisconsin last summer. The agreement represents the culmination of talks to include a Sikh program alongside the already existing Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu programs at Claremont Lincoln. The University was established in order to increase understanding and bridge-building between the religions.
The program has been a year in development. The university’s provost, Philip Clayton, hopes that such a program will help to reduce the hate crimes experience by Sikhs, such as what occurred in Oak Creek, Wisconsin:
“We have allowed religions to evolve as some of the primary sources of conflict in the world, and now it is time to stop it,” Clayton said. “It’s time to train a generation of leaders to use religions as common ground between human beings.”
Major donors of the program include Dr. Harvinder Sahota, a local cardiologist, and Harry Sidhu, a council member in Orange County. More information about inauguration ceremony on February 1st is available at the Claremont Lincoln University website.