Gambian Scholar, Global Leader: Meet Dr. Alhagi Manta Drammeh

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Dr. Alhagi Manta Drammeh,

By: Awa Conteh 

Welcome to this week’s episode of Meet The Gambian Trailblazers, where we spotlight the incredible journey of Dr. Alhagi Manta Drammeh, an esteemed figure in Islamic Thought, Politics, and International Relations. As an Associate Professor at the University of The Gambia, Dr. Drammeh has dedicated himself to nurturing the minds of the next generation of Gambian scholars. But his impact extends far beyond our shores. Currently serving as the Head of the International Cooperation Division at the OIC’s International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Drammeh is a true ambassador for Gambian excellence on the global stage.

Dr. Drammeh’s story proves the power of education and the pursuit of knowledge in transcending borders and shaping a brighter future for our nation and beyond. In today’s episode, we shall explore the personal, academic, and professional milestones that have defined his journey and celebrate the remarkable achievements and contributions of a trailblazing Gambian who has been influential to our community and played a significant role in shaping international discourse.

Born in Brikama, Dr. Alhagi Manta Drammeh commenced his educational journey under the nurturing guidance of his family. His formative years were spent absorbing knowledge at home, laying the groundwork for his future academic endeavors. As a Jahanka, Dr. Alhagi Manta Drammeh began his Islamic studies at a young age. His father, the late Shaikh Alhagi Malamin Drammeh, served as the primary Islamic teacher in Brikama from the 1960s until the establishment of Arabic schools. Under his father’s guidance, Dr. Drammeh was introduced to the world of learning.

At age 10, Dr. Drammeh moved to Banjul to live with his late mentor and brother, Shaikh Alhagi Banding Drammeh, who taught Dr. Drammeh Arabic and Islamic studies. Dr. Drammeh honed his skills in these subjects through dedicated instruction and mentorship until he became proficient in them while attending Muhammadan Primary School. He later enrolled in a Muslim High School and embarked on a distinctive educational trajectory.

During his high school years, Dr. Drammeh had the privilege of being introduced to Arabic and English language studies. This bilingual education equipped him with a diverse skill set and a profound understanding of different cultures and perspectives.

However, Dr. Drammeh’s education extended beyond formal schooling. He was fortunate to receive a robust foundation in Islamic studies and Arabic language from his elder brother, the late Shaikh Alhagi Banding. His brother’s mentorship played a pivotal role in Dr. Drammeh’s upbringing, instilling in him a deep appreciation for their rich Islamic heritage.

From his modest beginnings in Brikama to his journey through academia, Dr. Drammeh’s path has been guided by a fervent passion for learning and a steadfast commitment to excellence. Each stage of his journey has been shaped by the values instilled in him by his family and the teachings of Islam, paving the way for a fulfilling and impactful career in education and international relations.

“I was able to draw on different experiences. I went to Sudan from the Gambia to deepen my knowledge of Islam. Then went to Malaysia to do my BA in political science and international relations and an MA in Islamic theology, philosophy, and comparative religion”, he told The Alkamba Times.

During his time in Malaysia, Dr. Drammeh had the privilege of engaging with esteemed scholars from diverse cultural backgrounds, expanding his intellectual horizons. Continuing his academic pursuits, Dr. Drammeh completed a Diplomacy and International Relations doctoral program at the American Graduate School of Paris in France. Additionally, he undertook a Ph.D. thesis in Islamic Thought at an Islamic seminary in London, further deepening his expertise in this field. Dr. Drammeh earned a Ph.D. in International Relations and Security Issues from the University of South Wales.

Dr. Drammeh’s commitment to excellence in education led to obtaining a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education. His dedication to teaching was recognized through prestigious awards, including fellowships from the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Society of Arts in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Drammeh’s extensive teaching experience spans over three years at the International Islamic University in Malaysia and nearly two decades within the higher education sector in the United Kingdom. He currently serves as a visiting professor of political science, international relations, and Islamic thought at the Muslim College in London and a visiting lecturer at the University of The Gambia, where he imparts his knowledge of international relations and diplomacy through various courses.

Dr. Drammeh has held key leadership positions within higher education institutions in the UK, including being the inaugural Head of the Department for the Study of Islam and Muslims at the Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education and later serving as the Director of its Graduate School. His contributions to academia have extended to examining and supervising numerous Master’s and Ph.D. students, further solidifying his impact in the field of education.

” I approach education from a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on my social science and Islamic studies knowledge to deconstruct complex academic issues. I am academically equipped with different theories and concepts across the board.”

Dr. Alhagi Manta Drammeh’s transition to the international organization marks a compelling chapter in his career, where he adeptly applies his transferable skills. With fluency in Arabic and English, Dr. Drammeh possesses a versatile skill set, enabling him to fulfill various roles, from serving as an editor and translator to crafting speeches.

His primary responsibilities encompass fostering scientific partnerships between the Academy and other institutions on regional and global scales. Dr. Drammeh actively contributes to developing reports and policies to nurture and enhance these collaborative relationships. This multifaceted role allows him to engage with numerous stakeholders at the international level, further enriching his professional network and insights.

As an active researcher, Dr. Alhagi Manta Drammeh’s scholarly pursuits consistently shape his ideas and vision. His research focuses on various aspects of politics, international relations, foreign policy, and methodological issues within Islamic thought.

Dr. Drammeh’s areas of interest are Western-Muslim relations, foreign policy dynamics within African countries, and the Quranic perspective on peaceful coexistence and humanity. Through his research endeavors, he seeks to contribute to a deeper understanding of these complex topics and their implications on a global scale. 

“I focus on universal values of peace, justice, human fraternity, and equity. Thus, there is a need to understand contexts in the implementation,” he told TAT. 

Dr. Alhagi Manta Drammeh believes that The Gambia holds untapped potential waiting to be fully realized. He envisions a strong and dynamic foreign policy that can attract investors from the Arabian Gulf region. Dr. Drammeh emphasizes the importance of engaging individuals who are knowledgeable about Arab cultures, people, and language and are experienced in foreign politics and diplomacy to help facilitate this process effectively. By leveraging these resources, he envisions The Gambia establishing robust partnerships and maximizing its economic growth and development opportunities.

As we bid farewell to this week’s episode of Meet The Gambian Trailblazers, we are deeply moved by the inspiring narrative of Dr. Alhagi Manta Drammeh. His journey, rooted in unwavering dedication to academia and international relations, paints a vivid picture of a Gambian scholar driven by a profound sense of purpose. His vision for The Gambia’s foreign policy, infused with a deep understanding of Arab cultures and diplomacy, resonates deeply with our aspirations for a brighter future while speaking volumes about the limitless potential harbored within our beloved nation. 

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