Scholar, Social Worker and Former Member of Parliament, Hon. Kojo Yankah is the Founder of AFRICAN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATIONS (AUCC), previously known as the Africa Institute of Journalism & Communications (AIJC) which he established in 2002 with 60 students.
Yankah was born at Agona Duakwa in the Central Region of Ghana on 16th August, 1945. He received his primary education in several towns and villages in the Central Region. He ended up at Winneba A.M.E. Zion School where he took his common entrance examination to enter the prestigious Adisadel College in Cape Coast. After his Advanced Level education in 1966, he taught English and French at Breman Asikuma Secondary School before beginning his undergraduate studies at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Graduating with a B.A. Honours degree in English, Yankah was invited to teach English at his alma mater Adisadel College. After two years, he left to join the Information Services Department in Accra as an Information Officer at the Publications and Research Department. After only one year of exemplary work in the Civil Service, Yankah was granted study leave to pursue the Graduate Diploma in Journalism & Communications course at the University of Ghana. After the course, and with permission from the Ministry of Information, he accepted an offer to join the Social Security & National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) as Public Affairs Officer in charge of Publications and Research. Two years later, in 1978, the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) offered him the position of Deputy Public Relations Manager.
Yankah left GIHOC in 1980 to go into consultancy with Dateline Communications Limited which he founded. Combining freelance journalism with his public relations consultancy, he caught Government attention in 1982 at the onset of the revolution that brought the PNDC government to power: he was appointed editor of the Daily Graphic, the largest circulating newspaper in Ghana. After two years, he was re-assigned to become director of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). During the nine-year period, he raised the image of the GIJ, invited the UNFPA to fund a new course in Population Communication, and established the nucleus of a Computer lab.
While still directing the GIJ, Yankah registered for the M.Phil. African Studies course at the University of Ghana. After the Course work, which he passed, another opportunity came his way to pursue further courses in Communications Policy and Strategy at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and later at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, both on fellowships from UNESCO and UNFPA respectively.
In 1989, Yankah was selected to participate in a North-South Educational Campaign exchange programme and was based in the Netherlands for 12 weeks working with the Bijeen Magazine. His stories on the project won him the First Prize for Journalists in the world-wide North-South campaign organized by the Council of Europe. His stories were later edited and published as Dialogue with the North. When he returned home, he was again selected among 13 senior journalists from Africa to join the United Nations Transitional Monitoring Team in Namibia to supervise the Namibian Elections. His book The Story of Namibia was a product from that trip.
In 1992, Yankah accepted calls from his constituents in Agona to contest in the elections as parliamentary candidate for the NDC party. He won the elections and in 1993 was appointed Deputy Minister of Information. In the second term of the government, during which he re-won his seat as MP, he was appointed Central Region Minister. After two years, during which he initiated promotion of the Central region as the heartbeat of Ghana’s tourism, and set up the Kofi Annan Holiday Camp to help raise the standard of education in the region, among other initiatives, he was transferred to Kumasi as Ashanti Region Minister. He resigned from Government in November 1999 and established his own marketing communications consultancy, Yankah & Associates.
Hon. Yankah is author of five books: Crossroads at Ankobea (novel); End of a Journey; Dialogue with the North; The Story of Namibia; The Trial of JJ Rawlings. In 2011, he co-authored a book with Dr. Chris Skinner (Fellow, Institute of Public Relations, South Africa) titled Pro-active Public Relations. He has won several awards as creative writer, poet and journalist, (including the Langston Hughes Award; the Davidson Nicol Award; Afro-Asian Writers Award; World Education Congress Award for Outstanding Contribution and the 2012 PR Personality of the Year (Ghana). He has published a number of articles in local and international papers and magazines, and has made enormous contributions to the growth of the public relations profession in Ghana. Hon. Yankah has travelled extensively in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, North and South America, China and Europe.
He has served on the National Media Commission, the Board of the New Times Corporation, and the Law Reform Commission. Currently he serves on the Boards of TV3 Network, Public Agenda newspaper, Vodafone, Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust and the Ghana Book Trust. He is a member of the Ghana Association of Consultants, former president of the Institute of Public Relations Ghana, Fellow of the Institute of Public Relations Ghana and West Africa Representative of Crestcom International.
Hon. Yankah is married to Nana Nyakoa Yankah (Nkosuohemaa of Agona Abodom). He is proud of his seven children: Atta Panyin (Chemical Engineer), Atta Kakra (Electrical Engineer, AUCC ), Kwesi (Computer Scientist), Abena (Medical Doctor), Nana Ama (Computer Information Systems Analyst), Esi (Marketing Communications Consultant) and Maame Nyakoa (Student).His leisure hours include reading, writing or having fun on the computer.