Cleveland, Ohio USA: The Regional level annual Sikh Youth Symposium 2024, a public speaking competition organized by Sikh Youth Alliance of North America (SYANA) was held at Guru Nanak Foundation Richfield Gurdwara Sahib in Cleveland, Ohio. A total of 32 youths aged 6 to 22 years participated across five separate age groups from Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

The local convener for the Cincinnati and Dayton region, Sameep Singh Gumtala, shared that the winning children from the local-level symposiums held in April and May qualified for this regional competition. Gumtala explained that each group is assigned a book in January, and participants must answer three questions from the book in a 5–7-minute speech. This year, Group 1 read “My Guru’s Blessings”, Group 2 “Teaching Sikh Heritage to Youth”, Group 3 “20 Minute Guide to the Sikh Faith”, Group 4 “Clash of Cultures”, and Group 5 was given the theme “The Ghalughara of 1984 (40th Anniversary) and Subsequent Sikh struggle”. 

The program commenced with the recital of Ardas and Hukumnama. All the participants put in a tremendous amount of effort to prepare their speeches, impressively presenting their views on various Sikh-related topics. Langar was served by the Cleveland Sikh community throughtout the day. 


Each participant received a trophy, and a special cash award was given to those who delivered their speeches in Punjabi. The first-place winners were Avnoor Kaur in Group 1, Trisha Kaur in Group 2, Prabhnoor Singh in Group 3, Meher Kaur in Group 4, and Samara Kaur in Group 5. These winners qualified for the International Sikh Youth Symposium 2024, scheduled from August 1 to 4 at Gurdwara Singh Sabha Richardson in Dallas, Texas.

Kuldeep Singh, the national convener of SYANA, stated that these competitions begin in various cities across the USA and Canada, then proceed to the regional level. Winners from the regional competitions advance to the International Symposium held annually on the first weekend of August. The US and Canada are divided into 13 regions, including the Ohio – Pennsylvania region. 

He further added that the objective of this annual public speaking and debate competition is to provide an environment where Sikh youth can develop public speaking, oral, and written communication skills. Throughout this Symposium, Sikh youth can learn public speaking while delving into Sikh history and philosophy. It offers them a platform to reflect on topics ranging from the basics of Sikhi to an in-depth study of Gurbani, encouraging them to reconnect with the foundations and roots of Sikh faith.

Pictures Courtesy: Sameep Singh Gumtala

  1. Group1To5Winners.jpg: Winners Avnoor Kaur, Trisha Kaur, Prabhnoor Singh, Meher Kaur, Samara Kaur from Group 1 to 5. 
  2. Group_Participants_FamilyMembers.jpg: Symposium participants with family members 

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