What do molecular biology, interfaith relations and social justice have in common?
The answer is Satpal Singh.
Singh received his Ph.D from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India, in molecular biology and went on to train in Germany and the United States. He is currently a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he researches neurodegenerative diseases.
Before all this, however, Singh narrowly escaped an anti-Sikh pogrom in India. His experience with and survival of religious intolerance led him to become a founding trustee of the Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations, as well as to seek to bring peace and harmony to a world torn by hate and violence in the name of religion.
Singh will conclude Chautauqua Institution’s 2020 Interfaith Friday series exploring creation and humanity during his lecture at 2 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 28, on the CHQ Assembly Video Platform.
A frequent participant in interfaith dialogue on diversity, religion and peace, Singh has represented the Sikh faith in many forums, including delivering a prayer on peace and harmony along with Pope Francis at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, and organizing Sikh participation in the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City in 2015 and in Toronto in 2018.
He has organized many retreats between Sikhs and Catholics, and served as a member of the Executive Council of Religions for Peace, USA.
Singh is also an active participant in discussions around social justice, particularly in gender equality. He has authored many opinion pieces for various publications such as The Washington Post and The Huffington Post.
His writings are frequently a call-to-action for unity and peace, something he will discuss in his lecute. In a 2015 article for The Huffington Post, Singh wrote about violence in the name of religion and the forces that drive people apart.
“Our religion, race, caste or gender does not matter to God or to the laws of nature,” Singh wrote. “A tsunami does not target an atheist preferentially over a Buddhist. An earthquake does not level a Sikh house and leave a Muslim house intact. A wildfire does not come with a list of our affiliations to determine which houses to turn into rubble and which ones to spare.”
Director of Religion Maureen Rovegno is looking forward to Singh’s lecture, and thinks it will be a strong finale for the 2020 Interfaith Lecture Series.
“A native of India, he has brought his Sikh heritage into interfaith dialogues across America and around the world for the causes of diversity, interfaith harmony, social justice, equality and peace,” Rovegno said. “We are so very pleased that he will share his Sikh heritage and wisdom during his lecture.”
This program is made possible by Week Nine “Program Sponsor” Erie Insurance and the Joan Brown Campbell Department of Religion Endowment.