Inspiring Connected Communities

Rahuldeep Gill's workshops and lectures empowers leaders to develop collaboration skills so that organizations can drive innovation.


Talks & Workshops that Rahuldeep delivers include:

  • Personal Dimensions of Intercultural Conflict

  • How Great Leaders Maximize Programming

  • Core Competencies of Intercultural Leaders

  • Beyond Mindfulness: How Heartful Leadership Can Change Your Work

  • Beyond Tolerance: Engaging Diverse Worldviews in Your Organizaton

  • Beyond The Choir: How Change Agents Can Spread Their Work
  • Beyond Lip Service: Taking Care of Your Change Agents



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. 


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"There is something very important going on in higher education. Students are learning about navigating diverse social environments. "

"... 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."

"Trump’s rhetoric is a disgusting, unnecessary assault on American values for at least three reasons. First, if such a fascist policy were ever to be implemented..."

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...."


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.

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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.


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.

Bhai Gurdas Bhalla (d. 1636 CE) is widely considered the most important non-canonical poet in Sikh history, having shaped the theology and ethics of the tradition for centuries. His beautiful poems, which offer an authoritative illustration of Sikh life in the early seventeenth century, defined Sikh identity during a tumultuous period of upheaval. In Drinking from Love's Cup Rahuldeep brings together for the first time a collection of the revered poet's early work, masterfully translated into English, along with the original Punjabi text.

The magic of Gurdas's poetry lies in its fusion of Islamicate narrative traditions with the heroic literature of India to speak about death, martyrdom, and the spirit's absolution in love. Rhythmic, elegant, and lucid, the poems weave Sikh scripture into the lyrical fabric of Sikh spirituality. Challenging traditional scholarship surrounding the dates of Gurdas's writing, Gill suggests that Gurdas wrote his poetry to console the Sikh community, which was in mourning over the execution of the fifth of the Sikh founders, Guru Arjan (d. 1606), by agents of the Mughal Empire. Ranking among the best of the Punjabi language troubadours, Gurdas in his verses immortalized the fifth Guru's role as a martyr. His poems were written to encourage the faithful to stay involved in the community, resist hegemony, and reinforce Sikh beliefs during sectarian upheaval. 

This book brings a contemporary flair to Gurdas's moving stanzas, and also unearths fresh insights about his life and context.

"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."