The Team


Yaw Gyamfi, Trip Leader/On-site Manager

Yaw Gyamfi is Sankofa’s Program Director in Ghana. He also serves as the director for Princeton University’s Bridge Year Program in Ghana. A native of Ghana, Yaw studied religion and political science at the University of Ghana where he obtained a BA. In 2009 Yaw earned a MA in international education from the SIT (School of International Training) Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. Yaw’s MA thesis examines the causes of attitudinal change among host communities towards study abroad students and programs. Yaw’s experience with study abroad dates back to 1996, when he began working for the SIT’s semester abroad program in Ghana. He was the program’s home stay coordinator and program assistant until May 2009. In addition to coordinating study abroad programs,  Yaw has extensive experience in community service, having volunteered with the Voluntary Work Camps Association of Ghana (VOLU) since 1992. Through VOLU, he has worked with volunteers from around the world to help Ghanaian communities undertake and complete sustainable development projects.  

Gideon Alorwoyie - Drumming Instructor (Artist in Residence)

Originally from Anlo-Afiadenyigba in the Ghana’sVolta Region

Ghana, Gideon Alorwoyie is regarded as one of Ghana's

foremost virtuosos of traditional music and dance. He is professor

of music at the University of North Texas, where he serves as

choreographer and director of the UNT African Percussion

Ensemble. From 1967-84, Alorwoyie worked in the Department

of African Studies at the University of Ghana as chief master

drummer of the Ghana National Dance Ensemble, where he

acquired the ability to perform music from different regions of Africa.

He toured France, the United Kingdom, West Germany,

Switzerland, the former USSR, Yugoslavia, the Caribbean, Seoul

Korea, and the United States as a member of the Ghana National

Dance Ensemble. Alorwoyie is the founder and the Artistic Director

of the Afrikania Cultural Troupe of Ghana, member of the Ethnomusicology Association, and member of the Council of Elders, Dance Africa Chicago. Alorwoyie has worked with notable scholars and composers such as David Locke, John Chernoff, and Steve Reich. He held positions at the State University of New York, College at Brockport, the American Conservatory of Music and at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago before joining the University of North Texas faculty. Professor Midawo Gideon Foli Alorwoyie has been recently installed as Paramount Chief at Tsiyinu-Afegame/Afife, traditional area in the Volta Region of Ghana, West Aftrica, under the name of Torgbui Foli Ameanyo III, (Dufia of Tsiyinu/Afife).

Paul Yeboah, Permaculture Instructor

Paul Yebuah is the president of Permaculture Network

Ghana and an internationally sought after teacher and

consultant. Prior to getting involved with the Permaculture

movement, Paul earned a diploma in tropical agriculture

and was the farm manager of a 300 acre farm in Ghana.

After being introduced to Permaculture design and

recognizing the devastating effects modern agricultural

practices are having on the Earth, Paul devoted himself

to promoting and applying sustainable agriculture in

Ghana and the rest of Africa. In addition to teaching,

Paul also conducts agricultural research and is currently examining the use of the neem tree as a natural insecticide and is studying the many use of Moringa leaves as a supplement to combat malnutrition. Another major initiative Paul has spearheaded is the planting of thousands of indigenous hardwood trees to combat the encroachment of the savannah in the Northern Ghana. Paul has also worked with several communities  to control flooding and prevent erosion in both rural and urban areas.

Shasha Marley, Public Outreach Coordinator

In the 2008 Ghana Music Awards Shasha Marley

won both “reggae artist of the year” and “best male

vocalist.” Known as “the musician with a heart,”

Shasha Marley has been at the forefront of the fight

against HIV/AIDS in Ghana. Using his celebrity as

the nation’s premier reggae musician, Shasha has

worked tirelessly to break down the stigma attached

to the disease. His work towards this cause includes

a recording with Grammy Award winner Isaac Hayes

entitled “Save a Million Lives,” and a key role in

musical campaign the “Stop Aids, Love Life,”

organized by Johns Hopkins University and the Ghana

AIDS Commission. Shasha also received critical acclaim for his  composition “Say yes for Children,” commissioned by UNICEF. Shasha Marley’s has teamed up with the Sankofa Center to work towards their shared goal of using the arts as a vehicle to promote positive change.                                     

Isaac Hirt-Manheimer, Founder/Director

Isaac began drumming at the age of seven. He completed his undergraduate studies at Simon's Rock College of Bard, and received his MA in World Music at Wesleyan University, where he also served on the faculty of both the Music and Dance departments, teaching four courses on Ghanaian culture. Isaac has spent the past eleven years researching traditional drumming and dance in Ghana. Since 2004 he has directed a performing arts studio in Ridgefied, Connecticut ( .  Isaac has presented lectures on West African Music and Dance at several universities including  New York University, Wesleyan, Lehman College, and The New School. Prior to constructing the Sankofa Eco-Arts Village, Isaac completed the Green Apprenticeship program at Kibbutz Lotan where he studied ecologically sustainable methods of building and farming. There he also earned is Permaculture design certification. Isaac began developing the Sankofa Center over 10 years ago with the objective of giving back to the artists that had enriched his life, while at the same time connecting students from around the world with Ghana’s finest artists/educators in an inspiring, ecologically sustainable environment.