Ghana is an Ancient Empire rich in cultures, tradition and diverse ethnic groups. In the 15th Century, the Portuguese found so much gold between the rivers Ankobra and the Volta that they named the place Elmina – meaning The Mine. In 1482, the Portuguese built a castle in Elmina with the  aim of trading in gold, ivory and slaves. King John II of Portugal sent Diego d’Azambuja to build this castle. The first catholic church was established in there, and Christopher Columbus was a trainee navigator at Elmina. There are over 43 forts and castles built by the Portuguese, Danes, English and French along the Gold Coast now called Ghana. These forts and castles were used for a range of mercantile activities including the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Later, the Gold Coast was adopted to by the English colonizers who colonized Ghana until independence on 6th March, 1957 which made Ghana the first country in Sub Saharan Africa to be an independence nation. The attainment of independence was led by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, a Pan Africanist educated in the US at Lincoln University. W.E.B DuBois moved to Ghana to with his wife, Shirley Dubois, and they were both buried here in Accra-Ghana. The parallels between the history of Ghana and of the U.S pose an interesting discussion, and, at the Kokrobitey Institute, we want to encourage perception of Ghana's history by international visitors as a cultural exchange of ideas.




1989 Visit by Ms. Renee Neblett to West Africa to identify a suitable site for a short-term academic program for students at Milton Academy

1991 First group of students travel to Ghana; Fundraising group ‘Friends of Kokrobitey’ established; Ghana Education Service, The National Service Secretariat, The Du Bois center, the National Theatre and University of Ghana pledge their support to the Institute

1992 Kokrobitey Institute incorporated in Massachusetts; American office opened

1993 First summer ‘Teachers Institute’ with educators from 11 schools across Ghana and the US

1994 First postgraduate program; Service component of programs initiated with a primary school project

1995 First internship program

1996 First SAT training program for Ghanaian students; Completion of the Beach volleyball pitch

1997 Completion of the administrative block, housing units and dining area; Launch of the ‘Hands across Africa’ curriculum development project; Kokrobitey Institute hosts the ‘Designers Forum for African Designers’ in conjunction with the Goethe Institute; First High School Science and Social studies Institute; First Urban Scholars Institute

1998 First postgraduate semester program “Mud Huts to Mansions” a building design project

1999 Formalization of the Village Literacy Program for surrounding villages; First “Hands Across Africa” Teacher training Institute with teachers from 10 African countries, Togo and Japan; First High School Cultural sojourn program; First ‘Kiddie; First High School Urban Scholars program

2000 First ‘Ecology Literature and Arts Institute’

2001 First Rhode Island School of Design Institute; inception of the Kokrobitey Youth Development Association (KYDA)

2002 Arrival of the Solar Oven purchased jointly by ‘Friends of Kokrobitey’ and the Rotary Club of Ghana; First Artist in residence

2003 Completion of the first building of the Design Center

2004 Formation of plans for the reconstruction of the dining pavilion and development of the Design Center; First graduate ‘Governance and Democracy’ program from the American University of Rome, first semester abroad scholarship awarded to Ashesi student

2005 Cultivation of herb gardens and first bio-degradable prototype boxes from coconut fiber produced/ begin formal relationship with Rhode Island School of Design

2006 Development of small-scale development projects