Liberia: Renowned Historian Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu is Dead

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Liberia’s foremost historian, Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu has died at the age of 81.

Dr. Guanue died on August 29, at about 8:43 p.m. in Ganta City, Nimba after a protracted illness.

He had been out of public sight and living quietly at his home in Sanniquellie with his caregiver- grandson Prince Guannu.

A family source said he was rushed to Ganta on Monday after relapsing, but “he did not make it”.

Dr. Guannu was born on September 17, 1940. He was a Liberian academic, diplomat, and historian, who founded the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Cuttington University.

After obtaining his secondary education in Liberia and tertiary and other higher degrees including a doctorate in the U.S., Dr. Guannu became a bombshell in the company of authors of Liberian history by not only authoring several books that up to date remain text books, but by also rectifying several errors in Liberian history.

He authored several books, most notable of which are ‘Liberia History before 1857, Liberian History up to 1847, The Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of Liberia from Joseph Jenkins Roberts to William Richard Tolbert Jr. (1848 -1976). Others are An Introduction to Liberian Government: The first Republic and the People’s Redemption Council from 1983-1985, Liberian Civics 2004-2010.

The Perennial Problems of Liberian History 1989, and Nation-states and challenges of Regional Integration in West Africa, among other captivating and educative writings.

He was one of the country’s greatest and most politically respected historians whose work was widely read by many and continue to be. He was sought after for his insights on Liberian history.

On a visit to him in Sanniquellie in December 2021, the once busy educator, diplomat, pen pusher and researcher, had suspended all of his projects due to ill-health coupled with aging condition. Among his suspended work include the History of the Origin of Nimba.

Dr. Guannu served as Liberia Ambassador to the United States and Canada. He also lectured as adjunct faculty at the UL Graduate School of International Relations for many years prior to his illness.

In February this year, he was honored by the Government of Liberia for his immense contribution to the preservation of Liberia’s history at programs marking the celebration of Liberia’s bicentennial.

— Front Page Africa