Sikh Youth Symposium 2024 held in Cincinnati

Youngsters between the ages of 6 and 22 years participated in five separate groups.

All participating youth received trophies, books, and water bottles with "Singh" and "Kaur" printed on them. / Courtesy Photo

Sikh youth, along with their families and community members from Cincinnati, Dayton, and neighboring cities, convened at the Guru Nanak Society of Greater Cincinnati Gurdwara Sahib in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the local edition of the annual Sikh Youth Symposium 2024.

Sameep Singh Gumtala, the local convener for the Cincinnati and Dayton area, announced that this annual public speaking competition is organized by the Sikh Youth Alliance of North America (SYANA). Youth between the ages of 6 and 22 participate in five age groups, each given a book four months in advance. Participants then answer three questions in the form of a 5-7 minute speech.

This year, the books for each group were: “My Guru’s Blessings” for the first group, “Teaching Sikh Heritage to Youth” for the second, “20 Minutes Guide to the Sikh Faith” for the third, and “Clash of Cultures” for the fourth. Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1984 events, the fifth group’s topic was “The Ghalughara of 1984 and Subsequent Sikh Struggle.” Approximately 50 youth participated in the event.

Dr Kiranpal Singh Sangha, in his opening remarks, noted, “This is the 20th year of the Sikh Youth Symposium in Cincinnati. The 2023 Sikh Coalition report ‘Where Are You Really From’ found that almost 80 percent of Sikh youth have experienced bullying in school. This exposure will help Sikh youth gain confidence and become our future leaders, promoting education and awareness of Sikh values, the Punjabi language, and beliefs.”

All participating youth received trophies, books, and water bottles with "Singh" and "Kaur" printed on them. Winners from each group will advance to the state-level symposium in Cleveland, competing with winners from other cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Tarlochan Singh Sandhawalia, one of the judges and a senior community member, thanked and congratulated all students, teachers, parents, volunteers, and the organizing committee for the program’s success. He remarked, “The young children delivered big messages today. All 50 participants are winners. I hope and pray that Guru Sahib blesses them with more wisdom and makes Guru Nanak’s Phulwadi (flower garden) bigger and more beautiful.”

The event also honored the memory of the late Jaipal Singh, who selflessly mentored and taught Sikh youth in the community year after year with utmost devotion.