Member Detail


Prof. Idris Ahmada Rai

Vice Chancellor

Prof. Rai is the Vice Chancellor of the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) since 2011.


He is a leader in global higher education contributing in higher education development nationally, regionally and internationally.   He has been contributing in higher education through various higher education based associations, councils and boards.  For instance, he has been a member of the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) and its Accreditation Committee since 2012. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA), and was member of its Quality Assurance Committee  until 2017.   He served as a member of the Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and its Audit Committee for two terms from 2013 to 2017.   Recently, upon completing his two terms as the ACU’s Council member, he has been appointed as the honorary treasurer of the ACU Council.  He is the Vice-Chairperson of the Committee of Vice Chancellors, Principals and Provosts in Tanzania (CVCPT), the chairman of the Tanzania Research and Education Network (TERNET). Recently he has been elected a member of the Board of Trustees of Ubuntunet Alliance, and appointed a member of its Executive Committee.  Previously, Prof. Rai served at the Governing Board of the Africa Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD).

Prof.  Rai   is also a member of various universities’ councils and national educational boards  such as Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), Open University of Tanzania (OUT), Zanzibar Examination Council, Zanzibar Education Council and a member of the Scholarships Committee of Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Fund.

Prof.  Rai is visionary, a reformer, and an agent of changes.  Since he joined SUZA, he has pioneered institutional reforms which have transformed SUZA into a comprehensive, internationally renowned and regionally competitive university.  He has strategically transformed the State University of Zanzibar from a small unknown university with only one school and one academic institute with only 8 programs  and only around 1000  students   into a medium size university constituting of 6 schools and one institute  and a student population of close to six thousand students pursuing programs from a pool of over 50 programs at  all levels. He has transformed SUZA from a local teacher training university into worldwide recognized university with over 70 higher education partners and collaborators from all corners of the world up from only 6 when he joined SUZA in 2011. 

Prof. Rai holds a PhD in networking and computer science from Telecom ParisTech a word-class telecommunications school found in Paris, France. He obtained his. MSc. and BSc. degrees, both in Electrical and Electronics Engineering which were awarded respectively by Bilkent University and Bogazici University in Turkey.

 Prof. Rai worked as a Research Associate at Lancaster University for three years until 2007.

Prior to the appointment at SUZA, Prof. Rai was employed at Makerere University, Uganda where he served at various leadership positions and spearheaded the establishment of the School of Computing and Informatics Technology into one of the largest and renowned IT training hub in the region and Africa. He served as a Deputy Dean in charge of Academic Affairs of the then Faculty of Computing and IT of Makerere University. While serving as a Deputy Dean, he was also a member the University Senate, a member of the University Council Committee on ICTs and other Senate Committees. 

Dr. Rai has a strong track record in attracting external resources and establishing partnerships with private and educational institutions.  He has instilled the culture of resource mobilization at SUZA, and has led development of various winning projects at SUZA attracting million of dollars of revenues, that have been vital in the growth of the university in terms of human resources, teaching and learning facility and infrastructure.  Prior to joining SUZA, Prof  Rai won grants from numerous global IT, Educational and International corporates such as Google, IBM, CISCO, HP, ISOC, ITU, UNESCO, EU/EU, British Council raising over 1million USD of grants for Makerere University. He is a founding member of the Joint Institute for Mobile Innovations (JIMI), a collaborative research and development institute between IBM, University of Southern California (USC) and Makerere University also a founding member of Mobile Monday Kampala (MoMoKLA).

He has led implementation of various projects at SUZA.  He served as a regional Principal Coordinator of EuroAfrica-ICT project, which is a European Commission funded project under FP7 platform aimed at promoting collaborative research on ICTs between African and European researchers. He has also served as the Manager of the ITU Center of Excellence at Makerere University, which was established to build capacity on Telecommunications sector in the region.

He has significantly contributed into the body of knowledge through his research activities on Internet protocols and systems, and mobile computing. As such, he has published extensively in international conferences and journals on varying areas of communication networks. He has organized various International conferences and forums, served as the Technical Program Committee member/chair and a referee for numerous international conferences and journals respectively. He has successfully supervised over 30 graduate students.

Dr. Rai has received various awards and recognitions as a result of his contribution in higher education leadership, research and academics. He is the 2015 Africa Education Leadership Award. He is also the winner of competitive 2009 IBM Faculty award, 2009 and 2010 Internet Society fellowship award, and his biography appears in 2010 Marquis Who’s Who in the World. He has reached prestigious level of IEEE Senior Membership and is a Professional member of ACM.