President, Central University College
Professor Kwesi Yankah, Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts And Sciences, is a renowned Professor of Linguistics, and an Associate Director, African Humanities Fellowship Programme of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), a project sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of America.
He is also Senior External Advisor, Center for Local Strategies Research, University of Washington, and was until recently a Member of the Policy Working Group, African Presidential Archives and Research Centre (APARC), University of Boston.
He was educated at the University of Ghana where he obtained a B. A. degree and M. A. both in the Linguistics Department. He continued to do a PhD at Indiana University in Linguistics and Folklore, specializing in ethnography of communication. The President was elected Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999, and served as Honorary Secretary of the Academy from 2003-2006.
Professor Yankah has won several academic awards and fellowships including the Esther Kinsley award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation at Indiana University in 1985, the first African to win the award. Other fellowships he has held include Cadbury Fellow (University of Birmingham, Britain), Zora Hurston Fellow (Northwestern University), and Ford Foundation Fellowship, Stanford University, USA. He has also been recipient of the Gold Book award, instituted by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Ghana Book Development award.
He has been a visiting Professor in some of America’s most reputable universities: University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and University of California at Berkeley; and has been featured guest speaker in more than 40 universities in various parts of the world. Prof Yankah has several books to his credit including his famous book, Speaking for the Chief: Okyeame and the Politics of Royal Oratory, which was published by Indiana University Press, and is used as text in several Universities throughout the world. Early 2012, the second edition of his classic book on the Proverb was released in New York by Diasporic African Press.
In Ghana, Professor Yankah is Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Private Universities. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors of his alma mater, Winneba Secondary School, and has been Chairman of the Governing Council of the African University College of Communications. Other Governing Boards on which he has served include Ghana Center for Democracy and Development (CDD-Ghana), Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund sponsored by DANIDA, the National Commission on Culture, and State Housing Corporation.
As a renowned public intellectual, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has also played a prominent role in the Ghanaian media having been columnist for several newspapers including the Mirror and Catholic Standard. In 1996 he was honored by the Ghana Journalist Association for writing the longest running column in the history of Ghanaian journalism. From 2003 till 2008, he was Chairman of the Management Board of New Times Corporation. Prof. Yankah was a member of the Wuaku Commission, appointed by President J.A. Kufuor to investigate the Yendi chieftaincy crisis in 2002.
Professor Yankah has an enormous administrative and academic experience, having held several key positions at Ghana’s premier University, the University of Ghana. Until July 2011, Kwesi Yankah was Legon’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, and had previously served as Dean of Students, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Head of Linguistics Department, and Head of Mensah Sarbah Hall.
He was appointed President of Central University College in September, 2012
He is married with three children.