September 20, 2015 | By Parmjeet Singh
Bridgewater, New Jersey: The Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI) has announced the introduction of the Gurduara Governance Program, a one day training session aimed at current and prospective Gurduara boards, management, and decision makers. The Program training will offer to make Gurduara board individuals fully informed of their Panthak and legal responsibilities.
A release by SikhRI says that the purpose of the program is to develop effective Gurduara boards by empowering its members to govern the Gurduara in accordance with Gurmat (Guru’s Wisdom) principles, to be in compliance with legal standards, and follow the best practices guidelines for non-profits and charities.
“Gurduaras in North America have wasted huge amounts of community money in court cases in the past. Estimates are upward of $100 million in last 20 years. A tremendous loss of financial resource that could have been used, and indeed meant to be used for the betterment of the community and empowering its members” reads the release.
In this context, Harinder Singh, CEO of SikhRI observed that, “Community members have been asking SikhRI to do something about this issue. At the heart of this malaise lies the lack of understanding of Gurmat and governance principles. In response, we designed this offering to engage Gurduara administrators in a structured dialogue and training on understanding the purpose of a Gurduara and the role of a management in it.”
S. Harinder Singh said that the SikhRI had been observing this negative trend for some time with deep concern, while also exploring right approach to any possible intervention. The tipping point came about two years ago, when the clerk of Brampton Courts approached SikhRI to develop such a training. Since then, SikhRI has been engaged in it, so that the human and financial capital could be leveraged to better inform Sikh individuals and institutions in making decisions that empower the sangat and play an effective role in community formation.
Harinder Singh further remarked that, “It is for the first time in the North American Sikh community that such a program has been designed. With its implementation we look forward to engage Gurduara managements across the region in a meaningful conversation that could possibly turn the tide toward more constructive engagement of local sangats in community building away from costly litigations.”
He said that [t]his program is a critical step in making Gurduaras congenial to personal learning and community organization. It offers a total of five sessions/topics to select from:
1. Basic Responsibilities of Boards
2. Gurduara: Genesis & Purpose
3. Common Shortcomings & Robust Discussions for Boards
4. Key Financial Questions All Boards Should Ask
5. Mediation: How to Avoid Costly Litigations
“With this program SikhRI hopes to turn a new chapter in Gurduara Governance across North America and possibly globally in the future”.
SikhRI is launching its first Gurduara Governance course on 26 September, 2015.