Scholar, youth advocate, educator, and author Dr. Aminata Sillah is the 2022 University of The Gambia Convocation Lecturer.
The title of her talk is, “The Role of Youth in shaping the future of The Gambia – Stolen future or opportunity for bold leadership” Dr. Sillah is known for her ability to present provocative and challenging topics to audiences in a way that unites rather than divides.
Born to Malik (Malike) Sillah and Haja Bintu Hydara, Aminata spent the first five years of her life in Liberia because her father, like many young enterprising Gambian men, moved to either Liberia or Sierra Leone in research of diamond. Her father was a scholar, businessman, and the unofficial Gambian Ambassador in Monrovia. At a time when many men were not open to educating their daughters, Malike chose to send all his daughters to school much to the chagrin of his Jahanka community in Yona.
Aminata was educated at Wesley Primary School and Newtown Primary schools and after taking the Common Entrance Examination won a place at the Gambia High School (now the Gambia Senior Secondary School, GSSS.), she proved to be an avid reader and a frequent visitor to the Gambia National Library where she honed her creative, writing, and reading skills. Following her years at the GSSS, she travelled out to the United States of America to attend university.
Temple University from where she graduated cum laude in Business Administration and Legal Studies in 2002.
She sallied into the world of work and tested her professional skills at a job with a social service organization that challenged her interest in policies surrounding health advocacy and citizenship. It was during this time that she set herself to pursuing a graduate degree in local government and urban planning and emerged with a master’s degree in public administration (MPA), from Northern Illinois University(NIU).
She was now ready for work at the Northern Illinois Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) and well did she nurse her skills in urban policies and international development, and experience she put to good use teaching at the NIU and at The University of The Gambia. This was an appetizer for her to continue on the path of higher education which indeed Aminata followed through by signing on to a doctoral programme in public administration at the University of North Texas. With a PhD under her belt, she was hired in the Department of Political Science, Towson University in 2015 where she began work in public administration and interdisciplinary education. Her efforts have been recognized through her department for service and for her teaching.
Partnering with a colleague, Dr. Sillah established the Empowering Communities Project (ECP), a capacity-building project for organizations working on youth and educational issues in the inner city of Baltimore in Maryland, a programme that offered opportunities to community-based organizations. Students interested in urban issues found great opportunity to sharpen their grip on advocacy, community, and civic engagement issues central to her research interests in the intersection of civic engagement, community development, and comparative public administration.
In 2018 Dr. Sillah received the Civic Engagement Faculty Fellowship and in 2020 the Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship from Towson University. Her latest book is titled Hope is Not Dead: Doing Time in “Bakary Banjul’s” Five Star Hotel published in 2020; the recall of harrowing story of Fanta Darboe Jawara time through the Gambia’s penal system. Dr. Sillah has also published widely in the field of public administration, political science, international development, and nonprofit management, including several peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters.
Dr. Sillah is the CEO of Global Youth Innovation Network (www.gyin.org), a youth-inspired and youth-led network for young entrepreneurs in rural micro-enterprises who are committed to acting as hunger fighters, change agents, and innovators driven by the passion to see generational transformations from grassroots to global levels.
She is also the president of Jurarim Organization of Youth Excellence (www.giftofjoye.org), an organization with the primary objective to promote excellence in youth by providing beneficial environments for learning and empowerment through education.
She is a Fulbright campus advisor, a Tony Elumelu Mentor, and a faculty advisor for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She sits on the board of several academic and research associations including the Section on African Public Administration (SAPA) of the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA) and the Emerging Scholars Group of Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations (ARNOVA).
She enjoys writing and lecturing and likes to travel in the company of Morrie Kebbeh, her husband, and with their two children, Aisha Saran, and Abdul Malik.
On behalf of the Governing Council, Senate, staff, and students of the University of The Gambia, the Vice Chancellor Professor Herbert Robinson cordially invites you to the UTG’s Convocation Lecture.
Venue: Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre
Date: 26th February 2022
Time: 15:00 pm
Professor Pierre Gomez
Ag. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic