Kwame Akoto-Bamfo is a Ghanaian multidisciplinary artist and educator who is also known for his racial equality as well as cultural activism. He founded the Nkyinkyim Museum in Nuhalenya Ada and the creator and sculptor of Nkyinkyim Installation in Ghana, Legacy Museum and National Monument for Peace and Justice, Montgomery- Alabama, USA. He is also the creator of Nkyinkyim Za: Creative Communal Labour Festival, Ancestor Veneration Ceremony and Freedom Parade Festivals.
In 2021, his Blank Slate Monument toured throughout the U.S., from Louisville, Times Square New York and the King Center in Atlanta, among other stops.
Kwames’ works typically archive historical African living experiences while protesting the legacies of African enslavement and colonialism.
With a history of exhibiting in public spaces rather than art galleries, the powerful orator and scholar seeks to take his art into the heart of the community, disseminating his message to an audience beyond art patrons. Through this, he can create a wholly holistic experience that firmly embeds newly reformed ideas into one’s previously established schematic diagram. His art is not art; It is activism, a lesson, an antidote- a realignment of a world dismantled and reconstructed by historical moments that all should interrogate.
Having become an expert on using symbolism for effective public visual communication, Kwame currently uses his expertise to assist museums and governments in communicating sensitive and painful subjects such as war, genocide, enslavement and healing.
Kwame is working actively on creating healing spaces for people of African descent: Ghana, USA, Costa Rica, and Liberia.
Rebecca Ashley Asare
Rebecca Ashley Asare is the Director of Programs and Research at the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) in Accra, Ghana, and a Kinship Conservation Fellows (USA) faculty member. Rebecca is a continental leader in designing and implementing landscape approaches aimed at reducing deforestation, biodiversity conservation, reforestation, and fostering community-based natural resource management. She is an expert on cocoa farming systems and directs socio-ecological research on forest-agricultural landscapes. Rebecca effectively achieves impacts through research, collaborative processes, and integrated natural resource management approaches.
Amongst her many projects, Rebecca leads the Kakum Sustainable Landscape Project in Ghana’s Central Region, which aims to reduce deforestation, develop landscape governance, and roll out climate-smart cocoa agroforestry in partnership with private-sector chocolate companies and government agencies. This landscape initiative is one of the Hotspot Intervention Areas (HIAs) under the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP)—Africa’s first commodity-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. From 2014-2017, Rebecca also spearheaded the team that designed the GCFRP and secured a commitment of US$ 50 million in performance-based payments from the World Bank’s Carbon Fund. Rebecca has a Ph.D. in Social Ecology from Yale University, a Master of Environmental Science (MESc) from Yale School of the Environmental, and a B.A. in political science and environmental studies from Colgate University. Over the past 25 years, Rebecca has lived and worked in more than 10 African countries, and in 2005, she made Ghana her home, where she is the mother of two confident ARIS daughters.
Daniel Dotse is the CEO of Lead For Africa Group, an influential pan-African initiative focused on nurturing the next generation of African leaders. With a passion for positive change and a deep understanding of the continent’s unique challenges and potentials, Daniel has been instrumental in developing scalable strategies that empower individuals across various nations. His leadership has seen the organisation’s growth and impacted countless lives through the programs and opportunities presented by Lead For Africa. Daniel’s commitment to education, innovation, and leadership development drives him in Africa’s journey towards sustainable progress and prosperity.
Yaz Meen, “the Golden Voice,” is also the daughter of legendary music producer Faisal Helwani. Upon discovering her unique talent, Faisal helped Yaz Meen launch her career when she was only 16 years old with her debut album “My Sunshine”, released in Ghana in 1996. Born Yasmeen Helwani to Faisal – a Ghanaian of Lebanese origin and a Ga mother, Yaz Meen has always presented a unique image. “It’s sometimes difficult for people to figure out my identity. That’s why I like to call myself a Planet Earth Person!” says Yaz Meen. Yaz Meen’s debut on stage was at 9 when she sang the national anthem at the then Accra Sports Stadium for the “Ayekoo Tsooboi” concert. She wrote her first song at 12 and recorded her self-written debut album by 16. Under Faisal Helwani’s and Bibini Music’s stewardship, Yasmeen released her 2nd album “Faith” and then “Memories” – A limited edition Afro Jazz fusion album.
In the earlier stages of her career, she was known as Yasmeen Helwani. After she lost Waleed – her brother and guitarist, and then her father and manager Faisal, she left the music scene for a while. In 2012, she bounced back with her self-produced album “Music Messenger” featuring the hit song “Paddy” – A song that pays homepage to Yasmeen’s Ga heritage. Other songs on the album, like “Yellow Moon”, “Memory Lane”, and “Medication”, also gave audiences a new glimpse into Yaz Meen’s songwriting talent. She took another break from recording and performing to focus on her two young children and settle herself into family life, and it was at this point she re-introduced herself to the music scene as YAZ MEEN with her latest single, “How are You”. The single highlights Yaz Meen’s experience as a mixed-race person and was picked up by the BBC, shooting Yaz Meen further into fame. Despite all her success in music, Yaz Meen remains very grounded and engages with her community. She is passionate about community development through business empowerment. She founded a non-profit organization called “Green Butterfly” and pioneered the Green Butterfly Market – Ghana’s premier Artisan market held twice a month in Accra and quarterly at the Aburi Botanical Gardens. Green Butterfly also hosts the “Mother Earth Festival” every year around Earth Day at the Aburi Botanical Gardens. Lately, Yaz Meen has focused on “conscious music”. “I sing to heal and to uplift”, she says.
Exciting updates are on the way! We’re thrilled to announce that more guest speakers will join us soon.