Singapore hosts inaugural international conference on cohesive societies

ICCS brought together professionals, policy-makers, activists, academics and religious and societal leaders from around the world to brainstorm and discuss ideas on how to improve cohesion within societies

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GROUP PHOTO: Some Sikhs present at ICCS. From left: Sarabjeet, Jasbir, Sarjit, Parvitar and Surjit

By Asia Samachar Team | SINGAPORE |

Singapore’S inaugural International Conference on Cohesive Societies (ICCS) last week attracted inter-faith practitioners, academics, activists as well as political and government leaders from around the world.

Sikhs were well-represented and featured prominently at the four-day event which ended on 21 June.

The brainchild of Singapore President Halimah Yacob, the ICCS brought together professionals, policy-makers, activists, academics and religious and societal leaders from around the world to brainstorm and discuss ideas on how to improve cohesion within societies.

It is believed that there has never been a conference of this scale and magnitude, bringing in representatives from different continents, to form a collective voice against division in societies.

It was heartwarming to see the Sikhs well-represented and featured prominently at the conference as well.

Among Sikh participants from abroad were London-based City Sikhs chairperson Jasvir Singh, Kuala Lumpur-based lawyer and Sikh activist Gurmukh Singh and interfaith leader Jasbir Singh Suropada who is based in Victoria, Australia.

Jasvir, who was in the news recently for being the youngest Sikh ever to receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Prince William for his inter-faith work with Buckingham Palace and in the UK, was also a panelist at the ICCS, speaking in the breakout session on social media and cohesion.

At the opening dinner reception, Singapore’s Sikh Advisory Board (SAB) chairman Surjit Singh Wasan joined the other Singapore-based religious leaders on stage to launch a new Commitment to Safeguard Religious Harmony.

Joined by Singapore’s Minister of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), these members of the National Steering Committee on Racial and Religious Harmony then presented a framed copy of the commitment to the President of Singapore.

Surjit was subsequently also featured in a video at the same event to highlight each community’s efforts to safeguard social harmony in Singapore, with the SAB chairman focusing on the role of Guru-ka-Langgar and the gurdwaras to contribute to society.

Among Sikhs from Singapore at ICCS were SAB secretary Malminderjit Singh, who also featured prominently in the Conference’s Young Leaders Program and is a member of the Working Group on Racial and Religious Harmony, Sarjit Singh who is on the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) executive committee and the Board of OnePeople.sg, as well as lawyer and Sikhism speaker Gurmukh Singh from Malaysia and Jasbir Singh Suropada, who is an inter-faith leader in Victoria, Australia.

Malminderjit who also featured in the Conference’s Young Leaders Program and is a member of the Working Group on Racial and Religious Harmony.

The conference also saw many young Sikh activists such as the Young Sikh Association (Singapore) president Sarabjeet Singh and Parvitar Singh Khalsa, an inter-faith activist who is with the youth wing of the Inter-Religious Organization (IRO) of Singapore.

IN THE NEXT STORY: Gurmukh Singh shares lessons picked up at ICCS

 

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