A research institute has been established in Ghana to advance research into issues of religion and African society. The Sanneh Institute (TSI) is an independent institute housed at, and affiliated to the University of Ghana, to work in close collaboration with the Department for the Study of Religions and in partnership with Yale University. The institute is dedicated to the equipping and resourcing of religious leaders, theological students, young scholars, academic institutions, policymakers, and the wider African society through advanced inquiry for fresh insights.
The Sanneh Institute is named after the late Professor Lamin Sanneh – D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale Divinity School and a professor of History at Yale University. The late Prof. Sanneh was a Gambian national who taught at the University of Ghana in the mid-70s where, in his own words, “We made great friends at the university, and through them, we got to know and love Ghana; it became our spiritual home”. The Institute is a tribute to Professor Sanneh’s distinguished contribution to scholarship in the missions and histories of Islam and Christianity in Africa.
Speaking on the vision leading to the establishment of the institute, Founding Director, Professor John Azumah said: “People of different faiths are intended for each other for reasons far deeper than those of casual companionship. The Sanneh Institute has come to help harness – through constructive engagements in research, education and knowledge sharing – the inherent values and virtues of the major religions in Ghana, and Africa, for the good of society.”
Borne out of a longstanding vision to establish an African Centre for the advanced study of Islam and Christianity, The Sanneh Institute is positioned to provide academic leadership in raising a new generation of religious figures with theological humility and intellectual curiosity in the other. This is in line with our vision statement of “Pursuing scholarship as a tribute to God, with the religious and non-religious other within hearing distance, for the transformation of society”; and our motto: “Our roots are deep as is our love of neighbor”. In addition to research, TSI will organize seminars, workshops and conferences on pertinent issues at the intersection of religion and society in Africa.
The Institute commenced work in July 2019 and will be formally inaugurated at a ceremony on Saturday 29th February 2020, at the University of Ghana, Legon, with Dr. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and Prof. Farid Esack, of the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, delivering the inaugural lectures. The inaugural ceremony will be preceded by a three-day international academic conference from 26th to 28th February on the theme: “Territoriality and hospitality from Christian, Islamic and other perspectives”.