SAFF 2021 Opening Night

18nov7:00 pm8:30 pmSAFF 2021 Opening NightThursday, November 18, 2021 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM PST

Event Details

The annual Sikhlens: Sikh Arts & Film Festival opens virtually on Thursday, November 18th on The evening event will be hosted by Pavneet Mac and will feature a welcome by Daniel Struppa, President of Chapman University, remarks by Essraa NawarDean Kevin Ross and Dean Gail Stearns, all from Chapman, keynote speaker, Shivi Singh Legha, and the virtual launch of our annual art exhibition. We will also be launching our annual Sikhlens Art Calendar which can be requested at Please join us by clicking on the website below on November 18that 7:00 PM PST.

All events are held virtually at:

Direct Event Link:

Access to this content will only be available during the allotted time slot.

Pavneet Mac

Thursday Host: Pavneet Mac

Pavneet Singh Mac is a corporate defense attorney who specializes in all things employment law.  Yet, he still finds time to pursue his hobbies as a musician, writer and editor for Lakers Nation, and as a zealous advocate for underrepresented and low-income communities through pro bono legal services.  Pavneet was once again selected by the Best Lawyers in America for their Ones to Watch accolade for 2022, given to attorneys earlier in their careers who have demonstrated outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. 

Headshot Daniele Struppa

Welcome Message by Daniele Struppa, President, Chapman University

Daniele C. Struppa, Ph.D. is the thirteenth president of Chapman University. He joined Chapman University in 2006 as provost, responsible for creating and implementing academic priorities for the University and for the allocation of resources to support those priorities. In 2007, with the addition of further leadership responsibilities, he was appointed as Chapman’s first chancellor.

He came to Chapman University from George Mason University, where he served as director of the Center for the Applications of Mathematics, as chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and as associate dean for graduate studies. In 1997, he was selected dean of George Mason’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Prior to his tenure at George Mason, Dr. Struppa held positions at the University of Milano (Milan, Italy), the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa, Italy), and the University of Calabria (Calabria, Italy).

Headshot Essraa Nawar

Remarks by Essraa Nawar, Development Librarian, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University

Essraa Nawar received her bachelor’s degree in commerce with an emphasis in accounting from Alexandria University, Egypt (2002). She also holds an MBA from the American Management & Business Administration Institute, Cambridge, MA (2005), a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) from Brandman University (2015), California and a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) at San Jose State University, California (2017). She plans to pursue her PhD in educational leadership.

Events Committee at the Leathery Libraries at Chapman University, California since 2009 where she helped raise over 5 million dollars in support of the Libraries at Chapman University. She co-curated the exhibits “Empowering Muslim Women”“Egypt the Revolution Continues” and an “A Country called Syria”. Over the years Essraa has studied, lived, and worked in many places, including the Gulf area (Qatar), Washington D.C., where she worked for The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, and Alexandria, Egypt where she worked for Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She moved with her husband and family to Orange County, California in 2009.

Essraa speaks and holds workshops all over the world whether in the United States, Europe or the middle east on topics of librarianship, the importance of exhibits and programs in academic libraries and how to use them as an educational tool, how libraries can be a hub for diversity, pairing fundraising with diversity efforts as well as successful fundraising models for academic libraries. She is also passionate about interfaith relationships and the power of living in a diverse world. 

Headshot Kevin Ross

Remarks by Kevin Ross, Dean, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University

Kevin Ross, Dean of the Leatherby Libraries at Chapman University, has worked in higher education for over 25 years as a teacher, librarian, and administrator. Kevin’s educational background includes a B.A. in Elementary Education from St. Ambrose University, an M.L.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa, an M.A. in Organizational Leadership with a Human Resources Management Certification, and a Ph.D. in Education from Chapman University.  Kevin has worked at the Leatherby Libraries since 2000, and he has held a variety of positions in the library including Distance Education Librarian, Coordinator of Bibliographic Instruction, Web Manager, Head of Reference, Chair of Public Services, Associate Dean, and Interim Dean. In his current role, Kevin provides leadership and support for library administrative services; serves as human resources’ liaison in collaboration with the campus HR Department; supervises, mentors, and evaluates the library’s four Chairs, the Assessment Librarian, and the Administrative Coordinator; participates in library advancement activities; and oversees assessment planning, strategic planning, goal setting, and the library’s operations budget.

Keynote Speaker:

Shivi Singh Legha: Vanishing Traces

Shivi Singh is an art historian who trained at Punjab University, Chandigarh, where her mentor was the noted scholar, Professor B.N. Goswamy. Her dissertation research was on The Terracotta Tradition of Molela, Rajasthan, a small potters’ village near Udaipur, Rajasthan, where she studied their depictions of Hindu deities, the legends represented, and the socio-economic relationship of the potters to the other village castes, all of which reflects a significant part of Indian society that has survived the vicissitudes of history. 

Shivi Singh has researched and written on paintings, crafts, ceramics, and textiles of Northwest India. Notable is her work on the history and tradition of phulkari textiles of Punjab, and also on the mural paintings inside the Golden Temple at Amritsar. Her most recent work centers on the frescoes in the Lahore Fort where she has studied in depth the three remaining paintings that are in a very poor state of repair, yet she has been able to determine that they were most probably done by artists from the hills trained in the Pahari style. Shivi Singh brings a deep knowledge of Indian Art and cultural understanding to her work which she shares through her presentations and writings.

Launch of Virtual Art Exhibit

Pavneet Mac takes the audience through all the photo images from the 2022 Sikhlens Art Calendar and additional photos that photographer Jag Reyatt shot in Pakistan.

Jagjit “Jag” Singh Reyatt was born and studied in Kenya. He started photography in 1968 with a Brownie 127 film format camera. He pursued a one-year diploma course in practical photography. Since then, he has been working with large format, square format, and 35 mm cameras.  He now specializes in all types of photography and album design.

He has photographed all of the Sikhlens events at Chapman University, including the Sikhlens Arts and Film Festivals and all other events since 2004. Some of these events include the Inaugural Anglo Sikh Heritage Tour 2008; Anglo Sikh Heritage Tour Scotland 2009; Saragarhi Challenge Cup Patlia Sherdills vs. UK Army polo match 2010 at the Country Polo Club with Prince Charles;  Durbar E Khaas Gala Elveden Hall, Thetford Norfolk UK 2010; Centennial Journey 100 years Siri Guru Singh Sahba Kisumu, Kenya 2014; The Kaur Foundation at Library of Congress Washington DC 2012; Sikh & Arts Festival Manhattan New York 2011; Sikhlens Calendar 2013; Toronto Sikh Art & Film Festival 2013 & 2014; 350th Birthday Anniversary Celebration of Siri Guru Gobind Singh Je Patna, India 2017; Rose Parades 2015, 2016 & 2018; Samagam Kenya 2018; Sikhlens Heritage Tour of Pakistan 2019 and the Ek Onkar Bridges Tour of Pakistan 2020.

Presentation of Annual Sikhlens Art Calendar

Bicky Singh presents a 2022 Sikhlens Art Calendar to Kevin Ross, Dean of the Leatherby Libraries in the Sikh Study Room in the library.

Remarks by Dr. Gail Stearns, Fish Interfaith Center, Chapman University

Gail J. Stearns is The Irvin C. and Edy Chapman Dean of the Wallace All Faiths Chapel and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Chapman University. Dr. Stearns works with students, faculty, and staff at Chapman University. Through Chapman’s beautiful Wallace All Faiths Chapel, she brings together persons and organizations from many faiths throughout Orange County. She fosters interfaith celebrations and gatherings, as well as academic conversations in the areas of faith and religion. These include such topics as the scientific and religious study of Consciousness and conversations in Religion and Economics. Dr. Stearns’ most recent work is as a teacher of Mindfulness, a meditation that cultivates present awareness, helps to reduce anxiety, and fosters compassion. 

Jahandad Khan – Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Durbar: Five Folktales from The Walled City of Lahore

Jahandad Khan is an Islamabad-based history researcher, tour guide, and coordinator of Comparative Cultures at the Asian Study Group, Islamabad’s premier and oldest cultural studies platform. He is also the founder of Bookay, a book club comprising more than fourteen thousand young people across Pakistan. He has a personal connection with Sikh history as his eighth-generation ancestor and namesake Jahandad Khan Tanoli (1818 to 1858) was a contemporary of Hari Singh Nalwa in the Khyber Region. 

Anjum Dara

Message from Anjum Dara

Anjum Dara is a Curator and Historian in the Department of Archaeology, Government of Punjab. Being curator, he has served at the Lahore Fort Sikh Museum, Archaeological Museum at Harappa, and Archaeological Museum at Taxila. He has represented his department in various prestigious forums in Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, and the United States keeping in view the background of the religious and political history of Sikhism and Buddhism. 

Dr. Robina Yasmin

Message from Dr. Robina Yasmin

Dr. Robina Yasmin is working in Islamia University of Bahawalpur. She did her Ph.D. from the University of the Punjab, Lahore, exploring the Muslim’s condition under Sikh rule. She has published seventeen articles on different subject matters in HEC recognized Journals. Her book entitled “Muslims Under Sikh Rule in the Nineteenth Century: Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Religious Tolerance” is going to be published by Bloomsbury from England. She has attended many national and international conferences presenting her papers, especially in the Sikh period.

Headshot Gurpreet Singh

Closing Remarks by Gurpreet Singh

Gurpreet Singh was educated all over India culminating with an MSc from Delhi University. She came to the US, leaving home for the first time, to earn an MS. She worked as a Computer Programmer and Analyst before joining her husband Bicky at Future Computing Solutions, to value add to a growing company, handling accounting and Human Resources. Gurpreet learned to speak Punjabi in the US, a benefit of langar Parshaada Sewa, and taught herself Gurmukhi. She spent twelve years volunteering in Punjabi school.


(Thursday) 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm . (Pacific Standard Time)(GMT-08:00)