In September this year, a group of young Sikhs had the opportunity to travel to Canberra and rub shoulders with Australia’s top political, business and community leaders.
They were among 200 of Australia’s brightest young men and women who were nominated to attend the National Student Leadership Forum (NSLF) held in the nation’s capital. The Sikh delegation, comprising Amardeep Kaur Gill, Kunwar Singh Bhatia, Taren Kaur Gill, Hartaj Singh and Saranpal Singh Calais was sponsored by Sikh Youth Australia (SYA) and Louise Marcus, MP for Greenway in Sydney. Taren Kaur Gill attended the event as an Assistant Facilator on the invitation of the NSLF organisers
Apart from the Sikh students from NSW, there was also a young Sikh from Darwin, Karan Singh, who attended the forum.
While at the forum, the Sikh youths took the opportunity to raise issues relevant to the Australian Sikh community, such as identity and multicultural awareness, for wider discussion with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Also discussed at the forum were the role of faith and values in personal and community success. Of particular interest to the delegation were the insights they were given by top leaders into appreciating the challenges of modern leadership.
“I came away from the Forum feeling inspired to get out there and make a difference,’ said Kunwar Bhatia , a student of law at the University of Sydney.
“Seeing so many young people have a strong conviction about their faith and the way that conviction led them to help others, made me really focus on myself and where I was heading,” said Hartaj Singh.
Saranpal Calais felt the event encouraged the Sikh faith to be represented in a positive way and assisted in creating a sense of direction and encouragement for our generation to be proud members of a wonderful Australian nation.
"The opportunity to network with so many talented people of different backgrounds was unique and valuable," said Amardeep Gill. "I would like to thank Sikh Youth Australia and Louise Marcus (MP for Greenway) for providing me the chance to attend this wonderful event."
SYA spokesman Satwant Singh Calais said that Sikh youths interested in attending such national forums should involve themselves with organisations like the SYA which could offer them leadership roles in the community and proper guidance so that they can represent the community at such events in the future.
Taren Gill and Amardeep Kaur with Kevin Rudd, Rt Hon Prime Minister
Sikh youth delegation with Brendon Nelson