Punjab News Express on the Interfaith Banquet
Punjab News Express/Balbir Singh
INDIANAPOLIS:Indian-born and former student of Arts College in Sector 10, Chandigarh, Indianapolis-based renowned artist Kanwal Prakash Singh was conferred with the prestigious CIC Interfaith Ambassador of the Year 2016 Award, an iconic artwork ‘Cathedrals of Spirit’ at the Second Interfaith Banquet at the Columbia Club, Indianapolis here. Amidst thundering applause, Founding CIC Board Chair, Mr Don Knebel, presented the CIC Award to Mr KP Singh. Mr Don Knebel was the first recipient of the 2015 CIC Interfaith Ambassador Award. As a tradition, Mr KP Singh will be presenting the 2017 Award to the selected recipient.
At a glittering function attended by 300 persons, representing different faiths, cultures and communities, Indianapolis Mayor Joseph H Hogsett issued a special proclamation as February 21, 2016 as Kanwal Prakash Singh Day. Mr Singh received a standing ovation as he received the recognition for his untiring dedication and service to the communities. Mayor Joseph H Hogsett thanked Mr Singh for all his contributions. The Mayoral Proclamation was announced by Deputy Mayor and Pastor David Hampton.
Mr Singh said “the CIC Interfaith Ambassador of the Year Award and honor by each of you, dignitaries and friends, just does not belong to me, but to many who tirelessly contribute to making our world a better place and build a more hopeful future for every one.”
Besides the CIC Interfaith Ambassador of the Year Award 2016, Mr Singh is also recipient of many other prominent recognitions, including Honorary Secretary of the State (1989), Sagamore of the Wabash (1994 and 2015), FBI Community Service Award and Daverman Merit Award in Architecture from the University of Michigan. His in pen and ink drawings have been described as “Lines of Distinction.:
After welcome by CIC Executive Director Charlie Wiles, interfaith blessings were from Retired Methodist Minister Reverend Richard Hamilton, Leader of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center Arjia Rinpoche and Spiritual Leader of the Indianapolis Acton Road Sikh Congregation Giani Pritam Singh.
Danish Punjabi singer Anita Lerche served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. She sang Punjabi songs as the guests displayed their dancing skills to the robust rhythms of Punjabi Bhangra dance
Speaking on the occasion, Congressman Andre Carson said “we are all here for a special man. I feel as if I am in the stadium. I want to say KP, KP, KP!!!. Thank you.”
Congratulating Mr KP Singh on receiving the coveted award, Congressman Andre Carson said “for nearly 50 years, KP Singh has been an extraordinary influence in building a bridge between Sikh community and native-born Hoosiers. Through his success as an artist , architect, and author, he has been able to inspire in others both gratitude and joy for the diversity of life.
On behalf of 7th District of Indiana, Mr Carson applauded Mr KP Singh and Center of Interfaith Cooperation for their work in bringing the community together.
Thanking CIC for the precious award, Mr KP Singh said “I am overwhelmed with emotion of gratitude. Thank you for everyone for your presence. … I dedicate this award and evening to my parents who are watching from a distance, very great distance, from somewhere among the stars.”
Praising for the wonderful work done by former Mayor Greg Ballard and former First Lady Winnie Ballard, Mr Singh said “No body has done more for our city than Mr and Mrs Ballard. For eight momentous years they lived and loved our city and made it an enviable model for cities around the USA and across the world.”
Urging for setting up of an interfaith library — a beautiful faith project– Mr Singh said “to discover and witness God-Light, often obscured by our shortsightedness, self-righteousness, fear and suspicion, unfounded stereotyping, wrongful association, and unfair judgment, I pray that we create an Interfaith section within the CIC Library in honor of all of you. Learning along can lead us to looking at other faiths, cultures and people through unclouded lenses; provide wisdom and perspectives that are above reproach and san prejudice. This section should serve as a scriptural and inter-faith related resource that is above politics, time-honored and the best available.”
In a message to Mr Singh, US Senator Dan Coats also congratulated him for receiving the CIC Interfaith Ambassador of the Year Award. In his communication Senator Dan Coats wrote “Indiana has a rich interfaith community. This is vital for our increasingly global society, and I am so glad that Central Indiana is taking the lead. Your contributions to this community are invaluable, and I thank you for all your hard work. … I wish you all the best as you continue your important efforts.”
In a congratulatory message Senator Joe Donnelly said “This a very prestigious honor, and Hoosiers across the state are grateful and proud of your dedicated service to the Community.
“For nearly five decades, you have dedicated yourself to ensuring that our community is a welcoming, vibrant and inclusive place for everyone….. Your tireless advocacy in support of historic preservation, cultural diversity and the arts in our is a reflection of President John F Kennedy’s vision. This is in addition to your work in promoting interfaith cooperation, has made the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana a better place for visitors and residents alike.
“On behalf of Hoosiers throughout this great state, I would like to thank you or your valuable efforts and dedication. It is an honor to call you a fellow Hoosier and I wish you continued success in all of your endaeavors.”
Congratulating Mr Singh for CIC choosing him for the award, Congresswoman Susan W Brooks said “… you have been an important assets to our community through your dedication to volunteering, exemplified by your service in organizations like the Butler Center for Faith and Vocation, the International Center of Indianapolis, the National Trust of for Historic Preservation Sikh Council on Religion and Education and the many other boards and organizations in which you play an important role.
“Your passion for religious culture and artistic studies, as well as your philanthropic endeavors and vast commitment to community service, make you the ideal recipient of the CIC Interfaith Ambassador of the Year. I am confident that you will continue the great work you do for Central Indiana’s rich diverse interfaith community for many years to come. …. I wish you the very best on this very special day.”
City of Carmel Mayor James Brainard, Don and Jen Knebel, Sarah & John Lechleiter and Family, Raju Chinthala, Second Presbyterian Church, Bishop Cate Waynick and The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, Members, Organizations and Synagogues of the Greater Indianapolis Jewish Community, Indiana Catholic Conference Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Muslim Alliance Indiana, Asian American Alliance, Inc, Butler Center for Faith and Vocation, Marian University, Indianapolis University Purude University of Indiana, University of Indianapolis, Judge Charles A Wiles, Sachiko Utsumi Wiles and Charlie Wiles, Gurinder Singh Khalsa, Graphic Design, Film/Video, Web Design, Social Media, Music and photography, The Bank of Indianapolis, The Christel DeHaan Family Foundation,Telamon, Indianapolis Art Center, INTLCTR, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Community Health Network, ThePenrod Society, Compassionate Indy Organizing Committee (Connie Dillman (Chair), Lynn Jackson, Rev Dr Linda McCoy, Sandy Cheney, Charlie Wiles, Cenk Kandemir, Steve Tarr, Nicci George, Dr Laura Reske, Dana Ocharn-Wiles, Lann Thompson, Betty Brandt), The Healing Partner’s Ministry at St Luke’s United Methodist Chruch. Spiritual Oneness Group, Jane Aunty, Dr and Mrs Kent and Cheri Millard, Gina Woods, Jane Gehihausen, George Buchanan, Allison and Dan Lechleiter and Family, Ian Mclntosh and the Spiritual Trail Team and hundreds of others have also congratulated Mr Singh for getting the coveted award.