Punjabi Writer and Filmmaker Wins 2022 Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize
An author, researcher and filmmaker who has focused his work on the history and legacy of Sikhism was awarded Hofstra University’s 2022 Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize at a banquet Nov. 14 at the Crest Hollow Country Club.
Amardeep Singh, co-managing director and co-founder of Lost Heritage Productions in Singapore, recently completed a 24-episode documentary series retracing the 16th century travels of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion. The series, “Allegory: A Tapestry of Guru Nanak’s Travels” was filmed at more than 150 multi-faith sites in nine countries.
Singh has written several books, including “Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy In Pakistan” and “The Quest Continues: Lost Heritage - The Sikh Legacy” and produced two documentaries based on his experiences traveling in Pakistan, “Peering Warrior” and “Peering Soul”.
The $50,000 Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize is bestowed every two years to recognize significant work to increase interfaith understanding.
“Hofstra University is pleased to present the 2022 Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize to Amardeep Singh, for his work exploring and preserving Sikh heritage and culture,” Hofstra President Susan Poser said during the award ceremony. “As an author and independent filmmaker, Mr. Singh demonstrates a deep commitment to the values that Guru Nanak embodied and to the principles of religious understanding.”
Before the banquet, Singh and his wife, Vininder Kaur, who directed and wrote the Guru Nanak docuseries, discussed the project at Hofstra University.
“Having the Guru Nanak prize at Hofstra provides our College of Liberal Arts & Sciences faculty and students with an extraordinary opportunity, and one that aligns with our mission as an educational institution,” President Poser said.
A committee of faculty and administrators unanimously chose Singh from among 18 nominees, said Daniel Seabold, acting dean of Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“The committee was greatly impressed by Amardeep Singh’s examination of Guru Nanak’s interest in seeking universal fellowship among people of diverse faiths,” Seabold said. Members “considered several worthy organizations whose work is larger in scale but decided that an award to Mr. Singh would be more impactful.”
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso was the first winner of the Guru Nanak Prize in 2008. Since then, eight individuals and organizations have been recognized with the prize, including 2020 co-honorees author and scholar Dr. Karen Armstrong and her global Charter for Compassion movement, and the Interfaith Center of New York.
“To receive the Guru Nanak Prize from Hofstra University is a humbling recognition of our belief that the essence of existence is love for togetherness,” Singh said. “His message of unity in diversity was, is and will remain a ray of hope for a united world.”
The Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize was established in 2006 by Sardar Ishar Singh Bindra and family and named for the founder of the Sikh religion. It is meant to encourage understanding of various religions, and foster collaboration between faith communities. Guru Nanak believed that all humans are equal, regardless of color, ethnicity, nationality, or gender identity.
The Bindra family in 2000 endowed the Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies to honor its matriarch.
Speaking on behalf of the Bindra family, businessman, philanthropist, and former member of Hofstra’s Board of Trustees Sardar Tejinder Singh Bindra said: “Guru Nanak spoke about love for humanity as well as respect for every religion. With that in mind, my parents established the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize as a way to recognize as well as support the efforts of individuals/organizations that work to advance dialogue between religions to help minimize religious conflict, which all the recipients have strived to achieve, from the very first recipient, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to the current recipient, Amardeep Singh. We are pleased that the award is being given this year a week after Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday as honor to his vision and teachings.”