Lamin Sanneh was born into a Muslim family in Georgetown (Janjang’burreh) in1942. Following his primary and middle-school education, he proceeded to the Methodist Boys’ High School in Bathurst (Banjul) and upon his graduation, and conversion to Christianity, proceeded to the USA, in the thick of the modern Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and to England for further studies.
Dr. Sanneh was a prolific writer and an erudite speaker who had published vastly on Christianity and Islam in West Africa and became a critical voice in defense of Islam and its pacifist tradition in West Africa. His book, Beyond Jihad, added to his already “star” standing in academia and beyond.
He had several teaching tours at Harvard and Yale Universities where he later became the D. Willis James Professor of World Christianity. Professor Sanneh was a well sought-after speaker and during his career received numerous awards from the Vatican and Senegal- but not in The Gambia.
The Lamin Sanneh Institute was established in his honor at Legon University in 2018. He died shortly thereafter. His memoir, Summoned From the Margins: Homecoming of an African, details his life from Janjang’burreh to the most esteemed halls of academia, the Vatican and elsewhere.