This profile was last updated in 2004
In 2002, Sikh leaders in San Antonio recognized the growing need for Americans to be educated on Sikhism. While independent Sikh organizations were sprouting throughout the country to address issues of civil liberties, Sikh education, and human rights, no organization existed to facilitate networking between Sikh organizations and to help them work together. With this in mind, the Sikh Research Institute of San Antonio was born in December 2002. Since then, the small organization has made big contributions to Sikh education in America, working on college campuses, reaching out to business leaders, and reviving America’s Sikh Community.
The Sikh Research Institute fuses on three main goals: Leadership Enhancement, Community Revival, and Facilitating Sikh Connections.
1) Leadership Enhancement: A primary goal of the Sikh Research Institute is to create Sikh leaders on every level of the community, from high school students to married couples, bus drivers to business executives. Leadership conferences help Sikhs develop strategies to impact and strengthen their own communities. A 2004 leadership conference for Sikh Business owners helped entrepreneurs discover how business can provide a forum where Sikhs can be visible, positive educators and role models for the larger community. Each summer, the Institute also hosts Sidak, a Sikh Summer program where Sikhs from ages 17 to 40 can develop networks and immerse themselves in theology, contemporary issues, and leadership development.
2) Community Revival: The Sikh Research Institute also aims to answer the question: How can the Sikh community reach out and educate the broader community on Sikhism? In the aftermath of September 11, how can Sikhs globally promote respect and dialogue? With this in mind, the Institute works on college campuses, with the State Department, and in interfaith events to help educate Americans on Sikhism. In this vein, the organization sponsored “Tie a Turban Day” at Trinity University in 2013, where they tied turbans on fellow students heads and explained the meaning of this tradition in Sikhism. They also met with State department officials to educate them about Sikhism. The Institute’s broad involvement in interfaith events includes participating at the annual interfaith Thanksgiving mass at San Fernando Cathedral as well as working with the Interfaith Council of San Antonio.
3) Facilitating Connections: Central to the Institute’s mission is creating a positive dialogue among Sikh organizations around the country such as SCORE, SMART, and SIKHNET. They are currently creating a database of Sikh issues that will allow Sikhs globally to collaborate with one another and spearhead strategies.