Sanneh Institute Launched at the University of Ghana

From Wednesday, February 25 through Saturday, February 29, Christian and Muslim scholars, religious leaders, students, family, and invited guests gathered to celebrate the founding of the Sanneh Institute at the University of Ghana in Accra. The events surrounding the inauguration of this new and innovative center named for the late Lamin Sanneh, Professor at Yale Divinity School and Yale University and long-time trustee and friend of OMSC, gave resounding witness to an extraordinary intellectual and spiritual legacy. As the site of Professor Sanneh’s first academic appointment, the University of Ghana seems a most fitting location. Thankfully, Sanneh learned about the plan for the new institute before his sudden passing on January 6, 2019. Under the able leadership of Professor John Azumah, Executive Director and, like Sanneh, a scholar of African Christianity and Islam, the Sanneh Institute seeks to build bridges of mutual understanding in West Africa and beyond by “offering scholarship as a tribute to God, with the religious and non-religious Other within hearing distance, for the transformation of society.” At the Academic Conference convened from Wednesday-Friday, Christian and Muslim scholars from around the world delivered and discussed almost forty papers on the themes of “Territoriality and Hospitality.” Friday evening, Dean Greg Sterling of Yale Divinity School hosted a festive banquet at the Holiday Inn in Accra for conference participants, family members, and invited guests. The keynote Inaugural Lectures were held on Saturday on the campus of the University of Ghana. Emceed by John Azumah, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Wlliams and Professor Farid Esack, a Muslim theologian at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, delivered inspiring and thought-provoking lectures. Sanneh’s son Kelefa addressed the crowd of more than 800 people on behalf of his family. Dr. Thomas Hastings, OMSC Executive Director, was honored to represent OMSC as an invited guest. Reflecting on his attendance at the inaugural, Hastings said, “The Sanneh Institute is poised to make a significant contribution to scholarship on ‘lived religion’, which was Lamin’s lifelong existential interest and the north star that guided his academic agenda.”


Logo of the Sanneh Institute (Ghanaian  andrika  symbol of Siamese crocodiles joined at the stomach)

Logo of the Sanneh Institute (Ghanaian andrika symbol of Siamese crocodiles joined at the stomach)



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