SPEAKER

Innovation through inclusivity.

Interfaith expert Rahuldeep Gill guides leaders in business and higher education to more inclusive environments for work, collaboration and cross-cultural understanding. His engaging lectures and workshops deepen appreciation of faith and cultural diversity and inspire compassion. He develops leaders with broad perspectives who can collaborate in teams and achieve goals that drive innovation.

photo courtesy of Manjit Chatrik  

photo courtesy of Manjit Chatrik

 

“He is a beautiful writer and eloquent speaker who is able to weave together personal experience, political analysis, and academic scholarship in a way that is accessible to a broader public outside of the academy."

- Eboo Patel, Author and Founder of the Interfaith Youth Core

"... a public intellectual... his ability to make his scholarship accessible to non-specialists is outstanding, and his wider engagement with the world outside academia is a model of what can be done – balanced, incisive and positive."

- Dr. Nirvikar Singh, Chair in Sikh and Studies at UC-Santa Cruz

“… caring, approachable, pretty hip I might add, and funny! The best of the best…."

- Cindy Lewis, Director of Career Services at California Lutheran University

"He inspires and challenges the minds and hearts of those around him in a way that benefits every organization he touches."

- Evan Clark, Founder & Creative Director at Spectrum Experience LLC

"Dr. Gill helped our leadership trainees explore the concepts of service, community, and enacting the value of aiding others.  The students enthusiastically appreciated how he broadened their horizons and got them to “dream big” by thinking outside the box for ways to engage and help their communities.  Leaving the workshop, the students felt they had grown personally, had a better understanding of how faith works, and knew how to turn their dreams into realities."

- Anisha Singh, Staff Attorney and Policy Advocate, UNITED SIKHS


Where you've heard Rahuldeep speak:

 

EDUCATOR

Launching global leaders.

Ever-increasing global complexity requires tomorrow's leaders to be adept at engaging across lines of difference by expanding their academic horizons. Rahuldeep Gill is an award-winning educator who designs educational environments where students learn to understand deeply, and articulate clearly. He envisions his students as civic leaders who can work across lines of difference to innovate for a better world. His efforts have been recognized by regional and national media.

In an exciting new partnership between California Lutheran University, the Sikh Foundation, and the Graduate Theological Union, Rahuldeep will be teaching the first course on Sikhism ever at Berkeley's GTU, "the largest partnership of seminaries and graduate schools in the United States." The course will not only introduce students to Sikh history and traditions, but also host major Sikh thinkers and activists in the California Bay Area.


A tenured professor in the Religion Department at Cal Lutheran, Rahuldeep launches leaders for a global society through the following courses: 

  • Sikh Tradition: A Case Study in Global Religions
  • Conflict and Cooperation in Modern South Asia
  • Introduction to Indian Thought
  • Topics in Global Religions
  • Freshman Seminar in Vocation and Interfaith Cooperation

As Director for the Center of Equality and Justice at Cal Lutheran, Rahuldeep leads a collective of engaged faculty in professional development, community outreach, and creating learning environments that make for better communities. The CEJ "brings together organizations and individuals to collaborate for equitable social change, accomplishing its goals by supporting faculty/student research, building partnerships, and inspiring dialogue and action."


Serving in a new role as Campus Interfaith Strategist at CLU, Rahuldeep inspires engagement across lines of difference for a complex workforce and a civic sphere that needs our attention.

Rahuldeep has worked closely with the Interfaith Youth Core, a national organization that promotes religious understanding in higher education, even training IFYC staff.  He has also won support from the Luce Foundation, Teagle Foundation, and the Council of Independent Colleges.

SCHOLAR

Religious literature in contexts.

Rahuldeep specializes in Sikh literature, investigating how Sikh writers have helped to define communal identity over the centuries.  He is interested in the relationships between Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims and has studied Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Persian and German languages. He did undergraduate work, with honors, in religion and politics at the University of Rochester and earned a doctorate in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Rahuldeep is currently translating the poetry of Bhai Gurdas Bhalla (d. 1636) from Punjabi into English.

"The compositions of Bhai Gurdas Bhalla (d.1636) offer a mine of information about the growth and development of the Sikh community during a time of decisive transition.He wrote over 1,500 stanzas of poetry of two types: long Punjabi-language poems known as vars, and quatrains in Braj Bhasha, frequently called kabitts. Today, Gurdas’s compositions serve as authoritative sources on Sikh beliefs and practices. He is one of only two writers outside Sikh scripture whose compositions are approved for recitation in Sikh worship. Today’s Sikh community considers his writings to be a storehouse of Sikh ideals, offering definitive ,,,"

"Sikhism arose in a time of social change. In the 1500s, northern India was in transition between Muslim empires, the political system was corrupt, the Hindu caste hierarchy was deeply unjust, and the religious leaders of the time were perceived to be culprits in the inequities. The earliest Sikhs turned to Guru Nanak (1469-1539), his teachings, and those of his followers, rejecting the religious formalism that had seemingly gripped some of the practitioners of other religious persuasions."

"Punjabi folk songs (lok git) are untapped sources for insight into Punjabi history and culture. Different songs are performed in various contexts and contain layers of meaning. This paper provides examples of various types of songs, describes their genres, examines their themes, and presents a sample of life- cycle songs. It concludes by assessing the possibilities for investigating Punjabi folk songs from perspectives of heritage and academics."

 
"Sikh educational institutions must continue networking and sharing their efforts. The increasingly global Punjabi and Sikh communities will build the infrastructural resources to interact with their own culture and heritage. Centralized sources of information will have to inform community members as to which Sikhs are doing what, and where. Such efforts will bear fruit especially for Sikh educational institutions like youth camps, which could collaborate on syllabi and procedures. Sikh schools and camps in the diaspora should be encouraged to standardize or benchmark their syllabi and teaching."

"Because of nationalism and self-definition along religious lines, the people of Punjab interact differently in America than they would back in their homeland.  Punjab is a cultural region that was split between two nations in 1947, and most Punjabis today are Pakistani-Muslims, and Indian-Sikhs and Hindus.  There are small populations of Punjabi-Christians as well.   Components of the region’s culture include remnants of premodern feudalism, pride in fertile lands, an agrarian ethic, and an ethos of co-existence between members of the various religions."

"Guru Gobind Singh was formally installed as Guru in 1675 and lived at Chak Nanaki for about ten years.  As the ninth successor of Guru Nanak, he was the leader of a community boasting members from Kabul to Kashmir, from the Indus river system across the Gangetic plains.  His ancestor, Guru Ram Das, was the first Guru to select his own son to succeed him, and Guru Gobind Singh was the seventh Guru in that lineage of Guru Ram Das’s clan, the Sodhis.  There were other Sodhi rivals to his authority (from different branches of the family who laid their own claim to office of Guru), who had taken land grants ..."

"... those Sikhs who had spilt their blood for the community attained exalted status as shaheeds, or martyrs.  Beginning with Guru Arjan, the veneration of martyrs and the exaltation of their heroic deeds has been an important Sikh institution, arousing the strongest of sentiments especially during the periods when the community was militarily threatened.  To this day, the walls of Sikh homes and temples preserve shaheeds’ images."

 

WRITER

Intelligent engagement in public.

Inspired by the pathbreaking work of the OpEd Project, Rahuldeep Gill believes that is the responsibility of intellectuals to lend their voices to those who have none.  Bringing his academic training to public fora, he writes about history, theology, justice, and living together in a global community. 

 

"... knowledge is inherently moral and calls us to certain orientations and actions. But what’s more is that knowledge is constituted by the movements of ideas between communities."

Dr. Gill blogs at the Huffington Post bout religion, politics, and what it's like to live life in a pluralistic society and among the global community.

"Police use of deadly force is not just an issue that needs to be addressed in urban America. Parminder Singh Shergill was a Sikh American who served proudly in the first Gulf War only to fall to 14 unwarranted police bullets in his hometown of Lodi...."

"India, the world's largest democracy recently elected its latest prime minister, a Hindu Nationalist who has promised to shake up long-standing government corruption and bring prosperity to all of India, as he did to the state of Gujarat as its chief minister...."

"Some weeks back, I got into a tiff with another Sikh-American about precisely why the local Sikh community should participate in service activities like homeless feedings and handing out water at the Los Angeles Marathon...."

"My wife and I are joyful parents of a happy, healthy 1-year-old boy. We often discuss how to raise him and, as Sikh Americans, we question whether to keep his hair unshorn and tied in a conspicuous turban as our religion guides us to do...."
 

PODCASTER

Converse like Chuck Taylor.

If you have something to say, plug a Bluetooth microphone into your laptop and take it away. The Diggin' Deep podcast takes on religion, higher education, and other topics that make your dishwashing more tolerable. We started recording in Rahuldeep's office and will be launching a second season in the Summer of 2015.

 

SEASON 1 EPISODE 1:

The launch of the Diggin' Deep podcast. How was it named? Check out this conversation with politics expert Jose Marichal.

 

SEASON 1 EPISODE 2:

Enjoy a conversation with students about religion, atheism, and the interfaith movement. 

 

Season 01 Episode 03

In the lengthiest and the most emotionally charged episode, we talk to the late great theologian Jarvis Streeter about life, death, and love. 

 

Season 01 Episode 04

The podcast script gets flipped as we open it up to Global Religions students who grill the Gill on issues of much import.

 

 

Season 01 Episode 05

Stalwart guest Jose Marichal breaks down the Presidential Election, and how what better news coverage should look like.

 

Season 01 episode 06

The podcast hits the road as we deliver the Santa Barbara Interfaith Initiative's dinner keynote speech on violence, trauma, and interfaith cooperation.

 

Season 01 episode 07

What are ancient religions telling us about the future of humanity? Ancient Judaism expert and environmental leader Sam Thomas breaks down the past and the future in the present.

 

season 01 episode 08

We talk to the President of Cal Lutheran, Dr. Chris Kimball, about the future of higher education... and baseball.

 

Season 01 episode 09

Future POTUS, and Oxford Alum, Rebecca Cardone reflects on her career at Cal Lutheran.