The Institute of African Studies was established in 1961 as a semi-autonomous Institute within the University of Ghana, and formally opened in October 1963 by the first President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. The mandate of the Institute is to conduct research and teaching on the peoples and cultural heritage of Africa and to disseminate the findings. In addition, the Institute has always emphasized publishing and teaching, particularly at the post-graduate level. At the time of its establishment the notion of Pan-Africanism and nationalism were unquestioned in the academy. The study of Africa and her peoples, both on the continent and in the Diaspora, was considered critical and was pursued with passion.

Over the years the Institute has grown to host several units and today the Institute's teaching and research units include Societies & Cultures; Language & Literature; Religion & Philosophy; Music & Dance; History & Politics; and Visual Art. Additionally we have a library, a Publications section, an Audio-visual section that includes the holdings of the International Centre for African Music and Dance (ICAMD) inherited from Emeritus Professor J.H. Nketia, and which currently has a discography and video collection of over 3,000, and over 8,000 photographs. The Institute also has a museum with a variety of collections which include Asante goldweights. The Ghana Dance Ensemble of the IAS is the original national dance company. In addition, the Institute provides hospitality services (chalets and a restaurant) and oversight responsibility for the Manhyia archives at the Asantehene's palace in Kumasi.

In October 2001, the Institute moved into a new building, the first phase of a projected complex, completed with generous funding from DANIDA, Denmark's agency for international development. The complex is named after the first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, whose vision of African unity and continental government, and belief and passion for African self-assertion and unique contributions to global knowledge and scholarship, led to the establishment of the Institute. The new building has greatly expanded the facilities available for the work of Fellows and students. The building includes a museum and the Kwabena Nketia Conference Hall. This hall was named after the world renowned ethnomusicologist, and the first Ghanaian Director of the Institute, and provides space and a setting to host meetings for more than a hundred people at a time.

For more information, visit http://ias.ug.edu.gh