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Upcoming Events

TSI Monthly Virtual Lecture Series – 2021

In partnership with the Project on Religious Freedom & Society in Africa at the Yale Macmillan Centre, The Sanneh Institute (TSI) is launching a monthly virtual lecture series and panel discussions to address different topics and issues that are of shared interest and concern to the different religious groups in Africa. These lectures are meant to inform the general African public and beyond on the various issues, and to generate conversations around the topics for the sake of development and meaningful socio-religious transformation.

The lectures are scheduled for 14:00 GMT on the Last Wednesday of Every Month beginning January 2021. The series will be conducted via ZOOM, streamed live on the TSI Facebook page and recorded for hosting on the TSI website for a wider audience. Participation is free and open to all. Registration and more details can be found on TSI website: www.tsinet.org. For further details, contact Emmanuel Kwame Tettey at ektettey@gmail.com or call +233 506172909.

Below is a schedule with the list of topics and issues for 2021:

January, 27th
Religious Observance and Pandemics: COVID-19 and the Christian Experience

Which aspects of Christian doctrine and religious practices were most challenged during the COVID-19 Pandemic? How did the Christian community navigate the challenges imposed by COVID-19 protocols? Are there resources readily available in the Christian tradition to be drawn upon to meet such challenges? Does the COVID-19 experience raise questions for rethinking Christian theology and religious practices going forward?

February, 24th
Religious Observance and Pandemics: COVID-19 and the Muslim Experience

Which aspects of Islamic doctrine and religious practices were most challenged during the COVID-19 Pandemic? How did the Muslim community navigate the challenges imposed by COVID-19 protocols? Are there resources readily available in the Islamic tradition to be drawn upon to meet such challenges? What do these experiences mean for rethinking Islamic theology and religious practices?

March, 31st
Mental Health, Faith Healing and Prayer Camps in Africa

While health care delivery across Africa is generally under-resourced, the state of mental health is the most under-resourced. At the same time, cultural and religious views and beliefs around mental health are stigmatizing and pervasive. Against this backdrop, traditional and faith healers have stepped in claiming to provide care. Are the practices in the faith healing centres and prayer camps helping or hurting mental health patients? Are the camps registered and licensed to operate? What do national laws have to say about the existence and some of the practices in the prayer camps?

April, 28th
Witchcraft accusations in Ghana: To Close or Not to Close the Witch Camps?

There are six camps in the Northern and North East Regions with inmates accused as witches. Ghana is the only country in the world with “witch-camps”. To what extent are the camps safe-havens and to what extent are they open-prisons for the victims? Who are the real powers and beneficiaries behind the camps? What is the legal status of the camps in Ghana? What are the pros and cons in maintaining the camps? Should and can the camps be closed, and how? What were the challenges encountered in previous attempts to close down the camps?

May, 26th
Religion, family planning and abortions in Africa

What does the various religious traditions of African Indigenous Religions, Christianity and Islam in Africa have to say about family planning? Has any of these religious traditions adopted official positions on family planning, and what are the positions? Are there existing guidelines for followers on whether or not and how to access family planning services? What is the position of religious traditions on abortion and what policies or programs exist on educating members? To what extent are the teaching and positions of the various religious traditions helpful or harmful to the rights and wellbeing of women?

June, 30th
The Church and the state in a multi-party Democracy

What is an appropriate relationship between the church and the state? To what extent should the church be involved in politics? What examples or models exist in Africa as lessons to be drawn from? To what extent should the church be involved in partisan politics? Should the clergy be openly party-political in their work? What are the upsides and the downsides in churches involvement in partisan politics? How can the church contribute to the building of democratic values and institutions in Africa?

July, 28th
The Mosque and the state in a multi-party Democracy

What is an appropriate relationship between the mosque and the state? To what extent should the mosque be involved in politics? What examples or models exist in Africa as lessons to be drawn from? To what extent should the mosque be involved in partisan politics? Should clergy be openly party-political in their work? What are the upsides and the downsides in mosques involvement in partisan politics? How can the mosque contribute to the building of democratic values and institutions in Africa?

August, 25th
The Chief and the state in a multi-party Democracy

What is an appropriate relationship between the chieftaincy institution and the state? To what extent should chiefs be involved in politics? What examples or models exist in Africa as lessons to be drawn from? To what extent should chiefs be involved in partisan politics? What are the upsides and the downsides in chiefs’ involvement in partisan politics? How can the chieftaincy institution contribute to the building of democratic values and institutions in Africa?

September, 29th
Religion and Corruption in Africa: A Christian Perspective

What does the Christian tradition have to say on the subject of corruption at the state, church and wider society levels? What aspects of Christian teaching and/or practices in Africa could be deemed as contributing to the problem of corruption within Christian institutions, doctrines, values and character development? What resources can be drawn from the Christian tradition in the fight against corruption in Africa?

October, 27th
Religion and Corruption in Africa: An Islamic Perspective

What does the Islamic tradition have to say on the subject of corruption at the state, mosque and wider society levels? What aspects of Islamic teaching and/or practices in Africa could be deemed as contributing to the problem of corruption within Muslim institutions, doctrines, values and character development? What resources can be drawn from the Islamic tradition in the fight against corruption in Africa?

November, 24th
Boko Haram: An Islamic or Terrorist Group?

What are the historical origins of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria? To what extent does Boko Haram owe its rise to the Izala and Ahl ul-Sunnah reform groups in Nigeria? What are the ideological and theological roots of the group? Does Boko Haram seek to link itself with the jihad tradition of Uthman Dan Fodio in northern Nigeria? What aspects of the Islamic traditions do Boko Haram draw on to justify their activities? To what extent is the group Islamic, and to what extent are they simply a terrorist group?

December, 29th
Beyond Jihad: The Pacifist Tradition in West African Islam

What does the term jihad mean in Islamic teaching? How do different Muslim groups and orientations interpret jihad? What does the Suwarian Tradition of Islam in West Africa teach about jihad and clerical involvement in politics? Can it be said that the Suwarian tradition is truly pacifist? Does Islamic teaching allow for pacifism? Is the Suwarian tradition uniquely African or part of the broader Islamic tradition? How can the Suwarian tradition contribute to combating militancy in West Africa? Should the Suwarian tradition be taught in schools and universities as an alternative or counter narrative to the jihad narratives?