Faculty and Academic Leadership

ALU’s faculty brings a collective wealth of diverse professional experiences, interests, and cultures to facilitate learning and growth in every student to develop the next generation of African and global leaders.

Academic Leadership


Theodore Sutherland

Dean of Students, ALC

Originally from Ghana, Theodore was formerly our Director of Career Development, the department which helps our students get the work experience, skills, network, perspective and character needed to thrive as a 21st century graduate. Before joining ALU, Theodore was the Associate Director of Africa Careers Network, the arm of our sister organisation, African Leadership Academy, which mentors, connects its graduates to internships and jobs, and powerful networks which together accelerate unlocking their leadership potential. Theodore holds an Economics degree from Bates College in the United States.


Veda Sunassee

Head of College, ALU

Originally from Mauritius, Veda’s journey with ALU started as Director of Student Life for the Mauritius campus. He also headed recruiting efforts at the African Leadership Academy as their Leadership and Entrepreneurship faculty member. Veda holds a Political Science degree from Princeton University in the United States.


Gaidi Faraj

Dean of Faculty, ALU

Dr. Gaidi Faraj brings a rich blend of experience in education and private sector business on the African continent. Dr. Faraj has over 10 years of senior level experience of managing large scale projects and navigating regulatory frameworks in Tanzania and broader East Africa. Dr. Faraj holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Teaching from Troy State University in Montgomery, Alabama. He is currently a research fellow at Harvard University and was a 2017 UMASS Amherst W.E.B. DuBois fellow.

Laurel Staab

Director of Faculty, Rwanda

Laurel first joined ALU as the Faculty Development Lead on the Mauritius campus, where she helped fast track faculty skill development, and designed and implemented a full 10-week English immersion curriculum.

Prior to ALU, she studied at Stanford University in the United States, where her research focused on distribution of school resources and academic achievement across socioeconomic status in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. She’s also taught history in the Rio Grande Valley through Teach for America. Her undergraduate research at Vassar College focused on the role of women’s social movements during and after the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.


Carmen Attikossie


An International Relations graduate from Catherine’s University in the United States, Carmen teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Cassandra Ndahiro


A Communication and Global Studies graduate from Nebraska Wesleyan in the United States, Cassandra teaches Communication for Impact as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Demilade Oluwasina


A graduate in Animal Science from Obafemi Awolowo in Nigeria, Demilade teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Edward Opoku


A graduate of Ashesi University in Ghana, Edward is passionate about educating others on the power of data and its ability to provide insights into our daily lives. Before joining ALU as a Data and Decisions facilitator, he had worked for the African market research company, Asoko Insight, and Ashesi University as a faculty intern. He now works in our Registrar’s Office as our Student Data Lead.

Dr. Emmanuel O. Nuesiri


Emmanuel is a social development expert, with strong interests in the links between culture, politics, economics, environment and development, with a bachelors degree from Cameroon, a masters degree from Cambridge and doctorate from Oxford. He has teaching and research experience from England, Germany, USA, and over a dozen African countries, and is a member of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), and a resource person for the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA). He is the co-author of ‘Improving governance of pastoral lands’ published by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and translated into Chinese, Portuguese, Arabic, French, and Russian. Fun facts about him are that he is a science fiction movie addict and enjoys going on long walks on a regular basis.

Jess Auerbach

South Africa

An Anthropology doctoral from Stanford University and a Master of Science in Forced Migration from Oxford University, Jess teaches Sociology, African Studies, and leads the Decoloniality Reading Group at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Julia Paolillo

United States

An African Studies, Political Science, and Arabic graduate from Middlebury College in the United States, Julia teaches Entrepreneural Leadership at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Kevin Rugamba


An International Relations graduate from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, Kevin is the Language Support Programme Coordinator and its Lead Faculty at ALU’s Rwanda campus.

Marta F. Patallo


An Anthropology doctoral from the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Marta teaches Crime and Society as part of the Social Sciences degree programme at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Mehdi Oulmakki


Mehdi Oulmakki is a Computer Science Faculty member in the Rwanda campus. He was born and raised in Morocco which he left when he joined the inaugural class of the African Leadership Academy in South Africa. He later earned a bachelor in computer science from Dartmouth College. Before coming to ALU he worked as a software engineer with Amazon.com building and supporting tools that allowed our hundreds of thousands of employees to access documentation and support to perform their role better. Mehdi is about promoting and improving technical education, and making sure that African students, developers in particular, are put on the global map. He is motivated by spending time with focused groups of students, and supporting their projects.

Michael Gebre Yntiso


A graduate of ALU’s inaugural Fellow Programme, Michael teaches Data and Decisions as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Nachula Wilson


An MBA graduate from IESE Business School, Spain, Nachula teaches Management Issues and Concepts, Contemporary Cultural Challenges in International Business, and International Business Strategy at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Priscilla Bretuo


Priscilla Bretuo has an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics (LSE), UK and an MPhil and BA in Political Science from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. She is also a scholar of the
LSE Programme for African Leadership (PfAL). Her research interests span the area of development theory and policy, education reform and development, and Political economy of development in Africa. She has previously worked in academic
institutions in Ghana both in administrative and teaching capacity and is also a writer and editor for Future African Forum, an organization focused on development and policy in Africa. Priscilla teaches Sociology and Politics at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Rushika Jayprakash Pattni


An Economics and History of Science graduate from Yale University in the United States, Rushika teaches Projects as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Sila Ogidi


An English Language and Literature graduate from Bryn Mawr College in the United States, Sila is a Communication for Impact faculty member at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Stephen Naicken


A PhD, MRes, and BSc graduate of the University of Sussex, United Kingdom, Stephen teaches Computing at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Tofik Saad

United Kingdom

Tofik, a member of the Communication for Impact team, graduated from South Bank University London with a degree in Business Information Technology. He is an Associate Fellow of Higher Education with a Post Experience Certificate in Supporting Learning and Student Engagement.Tofik discovered his passion for education and teaching while working as a Performance Analyst for American Express. Soon, he pursued his interest in languages by joining a language exchange program and teaching English to international students. During this time he obtained the TEFL qualification, which allowed him to teach English as a second language globally. What started as a side project became a passion, which has taken him across the globe from England to South Korea, Mauritius, and now Rwanda.

Tolu Agunbiade


An Accounting graduate from the University of Abuja, Tolu teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Wilhelmina Efua Zwennes


A graduate in Physics of Clark University in the United States, Wilhelmina is a Data and Decisions faculty member at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.