‘Sewa’, or selfless service is one of the three “Golden Rules” of Sikhism espoused by Guru Nanak. Originating in the concept of “langar”, sewa has traditionally taken the form of supporting members of the broader community through provision of basic requirements as in food, lodging and clothing. In recent times, global organisations like Khalsa Aid have extended the concept of sewa beyond borders, providing humanitarian support in conflict zones and marginalised communities around the world.

Applying sewa in a modern context, both from encouraging and channelling the energy of Sikhs who are obliged to apply the concept of sewa in their lives, along with applying it to areas where it is most needed is an essential part of YSPN’s founding principles. This context is further enhanced given the rapid growth in the Sikh population in Australia, with a 400+% increase in the number of Sikhs between 2006 – 2016. Our responsibility to both organise sewa and the impact we can make are magnified given our size and scale.

As a result, there is a need for us as a community to consider what sewa means in a modern context, what is the best way to provide sewa, how we identify the needs of sewa and how we coordinate and deliver sewa in the most meaningful and impactful way for “Sarbat da Bhalla” (the welfare of all).

This panel will seek to explore these issues, drawing on your experiences as sewadars, community leaders and influencers in the modern Sikh diaspora to shape the meaning and architecture for sewa in Australia and New Zealand.

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Bhavdeep Singh

Former CEO, Fortis Healtthcare

Bhavdeep is a US based business professional with Senior Executive experience in Retail, Healthcare, Consulting and Human Resources across North America and Asia. His most recent position was as CEO for Fortis Healthcare, a leading Southeast Asian healthcare delivery service provider. The company operates primarily in hospitals and diagnostic centers with approximately 4,000 beds and over 400 diagnostic collection centers.

Prior to this, Bhavdeep served on the executive board and as the Executive Vice President for HR of Ahold, a retailer with almost 800 stores, worth USD$26 million, subsequently running their US operations. He also worked with Reliance Retail, an Indian business where he oversaw the opening of more than 700 new stores in less than two years.

Bhavdeep attended Pace University in New York, and has also completed several certified courses in Leadership and Executive Management from premier institutions such as the Harvard Business School, Cornell University and others.

He, with his family, has been involved in Sikh Youth Camps for over thirty years. Married with two children, he resides on the East Coast of the US.

Dr Malvindar Singh-Bains

Neuroscientist, Young NZ of the year Finalist

Malvindar is a neuroscientist at the University of Auckland Centre for Brain Research, focusing currently on brain inflammation and pathology in conditions including Huntington's and Alzheimer's Disease. She was the 2019 recipient of the KiwiBank Hero Award Medal, and has been nominated for New Zealander of the Year for her ongoing commitment to promoting brain health and awareness.

In 2018, she was recognised in the top 5 women in Health and Science category for NEXT Woman of the Year. In 2016, she was awared Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame Young Achiever by the Indian High Commissioner to NZ, and has been a 2-time top-three finalist for the University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the year.

The Governor General of New Zealand awarded Malvindar the Leo Nilon Huntington's Disease Research Fellowship, which is dedicated to the advancement of innovative treatments for the disease. She has also co-founded and co-chaired the Huntington's Disease Youth Organization New Zealand (HDYO-NZ); a registered charity dedicated to supporting, educating and advocating for young New Zealanders impacted by HD.

Malvindar spends her spare time raising awareness for brain health in many communities, inclusive of all walks of life. She is a strong advocate for disseminating scientific information to the public, as seen by her extensive public radio, television and media engagements.

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Gurmesh Singh MP

Member of Parliament, Coffs Harbour

Gurmesh is a Member of Parliament in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, representing Coffs Harbour for The Nationals. A third-generation local, he has experience in various industries from digital marketing and design to agriculture. He is dedicated to ensuring small industries can thrive with less red tape and more attention.

He is passionate about representing the constituents of the Coffs Harbour electorate in the State Parliament and ensuring that they get their fair share of funding from the NSW Government.