International Student Visit India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas in Richmond
Highway to Heaven is one of the most popular places for visitors in Richmond, BC Canada
Los Angeles, May 27, 2018
NRIpress.club/Ramesh/ A.Gary Singh Grewal
At least two or three times a week , various schools and other groups approach the management of India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas (8600, #5 Road in Richmond) for a guided tour of the Gurdwara and learn about Sikhism and the Indo-Canadian community. It is a great honour for us at the Gurdwara to accommodate them and share with them the principles of the fifth most popular religion in the world. In this context, this place of worship has been creating awareness about Sikhism and the Indo-Canadian community for several years. It helps the young minds broaden their horizons. Such exposure to different faiths and cultures is bound to create more awareness in them and help them become more well- rounded, broad-minded and productive members of Canadian society. Most of them are very impressed with the basic principles of Sikhism, the message of universal brotherhood, human rights and equality as preached by our Gurus starting with Guru Nanak Dev ji. These students and adults are very keen to learn not only about Sikhism but also about the contribution of our community to the growth and development of Canada.
On Monday, May 21, it was an honour for me to welcome a group of students from Kitsilano Secondary School in Vancouver. This group consisted of 16 exchange students from Germany and 12 of their Canadian hosts led by Mr. Rainer Mehl, Kitsilano Secondary School Arts Department Head. Mr. Rainer informed me that his school has a partner school agreement with Reuchlin Gymnasium in Ingolstadt (near Munich in Germany).They organize a student exchange every two years. The focus of these exchange programs is immigration, integration and multiculturalism. This is very conducive to highlighting similarities and differences between our two countries-Canada and Germany. The students seemed to be very impressed with what they saw and heard. This was also evident from the thank you note that the organizer, Mr. Rainer, sent to me after the visit: “Hello Balwant, thank you so much for your tour and introduction to Sikhism and the Sikh community in Canada. Speaking to the students at the end of the day, the visit left a solid impression, not just of diversity, but also of acceptance and our Canadian multiculturalism. Thank you so much.”
Two days later, a group of 80 plus grade 11 students from Mennonite Educational Institute, Abbotsford, under Dr. David McLauren’s leadership, visited the Gurdwara on May 23.
It was a commendable bridge building initiative by Dr. McLauren. Again, it was an honour for this writer (on behalf of the Management Committee of the Gurdwara) to facilitate this visit. The participants were very impressed with the warm welcome and learning about Sikhism and the Indo-Canadian community in Canada. Before leaving for other places of worship they enjoyed light refreshments of samosas, juice and tea at the Gurdwara. The students and Dr. McLauren thanked us all for a very warm welcome. Such visits, especially by our youth, are a great way to promote intercultural and interreligious harmony and inclusiveness.
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist. He is a member of the India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas Management Committee)