Dr. Rajwant Singh
Dr. Rajwant Singh was born in Calcutta, India, in 1961. He immigrated to the United States in 1979 and settled in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. He completed a Doctorate in Dental Surgery in 1989 from the School of Dentistry at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Currently he has two dental offices and has thriving dental practices in the Washington area. He is married to a Child Psychiatrist, Dr. Balvinder Kaur and has two children, Sehej Kaur and Guransh Singh ages 18 and 16.
Dr. Singh has been participating in Sikh community affairs since his early youth. He founded the first Sikh youth group in 1980 in Washington. While he was in dental school he became one of the founding members of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (GGSF), a Sikh congregation based in Rockville, Maryland. He organizes youth camps for Sikh children every summer and also conducts classes in Punjabi and Sikh history and philosophy in Washington area through Guru Gobind Singh Foundation.
Dr. Singh is active in peace, justice and religious freedom issues. Dr. Singh also keeps close contact with the Sikh religious and Punjab political leadership. He is often consulted on many global issues by them. Dr. Singh has been active on national scene in America. He is the first Sikh leader to be invited to the White House in 1993 by President Clinton. He was invited to the White House for prayer breakfasts by President Bill Clinton several times. He organized two briefings for Sikh leaders and businessmen at the White House during the Clinton Administration. Dr. Singh was also invited by The White House to the National Cathedral to join President Goerge W. Bush in prayer for the victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He was the first Sikh leader to be invited along with leaders of many different religions to a meeting with Bush immediately after the attack of 9/11 on September 20, 2001. He was made the spokesperson along with 4 other religious leaders to speak to the press to calm down the American public. He was also invited to another meeting with President Bush on September 26, 2001 at the White House to deter backlash against Sikhs due to mistaken identity in the aftermath of 9/11 and he was accompanied by 13 other Sikh leaders. He was made the spokesperson of the group by the White House to speak to the press outside the President Bush’s office. He was also instrumental in having the White House observe the 400th anniversary of the installation of the Sikh scriptures in August 2004. This was the first Sikh event at the White House and it was attended by the members of Bush’s cabinet and various Sikh leaders from all over America. Recently, He was instrumental in celebrating the first ever celebration of birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the Sikh founder at the White House in 2009 with President Obama’s Administration.
Dr. Singh has been active in the interfaith affairs on behalf of the Sikh community. He was first one to organize the participation of the Sikhs in the first national interfaith gathering in America in 1987. Dr. Singh was President of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, from 1994 to 1996. The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington is an organization, which brings eleven world faith traditions together for joint action on critical issues in the metropolitan area. Dr. Singh has also served as a board member for the North American Interfaith Network which brings together 65 interfaith organizations for networking.
Dr. Singh has been an activist for environmental and conservation issues. He provided Sikh environmental views for a United Nations Environment Program publication. Dr. Singh represented the Sikh faith at the Global Forum for Human Survival in 1990 in Soviet Union. This conference focused on protecting Earth’s resources and nature and was hosted by Mikhail Gorbachev. He also participated in a summit on Conservation and Religions in Japan. Dr. Singh was also invited to present the Sikh viewpoint on nature in a conference in Greece and Turkey at the invitation of Greek Patriarch of Constantinople. He also represented the Sikh faith to a Peace Prayer gathering of faiths at the invitation of Pope John Paul at Assisi in 2002.
He has also served on Faiths and Development Dialogue at the invitation of the President of the World Bank, Mr. John Wolfenshon engaging world religions and the World Bank on the issues of faith and development. He also attended a dinner with Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace in 2002.
He also helped launch EcoSikh – A Sikh community’s response to Climate Change, which was launched in New Delhi in July 2009. This was attended by over 200 Sikh leaders from all over India and US. He also represented Sikh faith in Faiths Summit on Climate Change at Windsor Castle which was hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Prince Philip and organized by Alliance of Religions and Conservation.
Currently, Dr. Singh is Founder and Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE). Founded in 1998, The Sikh Council, based in Washington, serves as a think tank and represents Sikhs in various forums and venues. As Chairman, Dr. Singh has been invited to the White House, to Congress, the Vatican and by various non-governmental organizations to present the Sikh perspective from the organization’s perception and most recently, since The September 11th Tragedy. The mission of the Sikh Council is to “foster understanding through education and interfaith relations, to promote the concept of community and to work to secure a just society for all.”
Dr. Singh also has keen interest in Kirtan, Sikh hymn singing. He has led the participation of the Sikhs in the interfaith concert in which music of many world religions is presented.
Dr Rajwant Singh is also the founding member and board member of the Sikh Human Development Foundation which gives scholarships to poor and needy students for higher education in Punjab and other northern states in India.
Dr. Rajwant Singh has been honored by Akal Takhat, the supreme authority of Sikhs in Amritsar in 2006 and has also been honored by Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the apex body of the Sikhs and the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, the second largest body of the Sikhs in India for his contributions to Sikh community.