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Isabel Capeloa Gil

President, Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) Portugal

Isabel Maria de Oliveira Capeloa Gil is the President of the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) and was elected in July of 2018 as President of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU). Recently she was appointed by Pope Francis to serve in the Scientific Council of the Holy See’s Higher Education Accreditation Agency (AVEPRO).


In 2019, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Boston College and was recognized by the University of Lisbon with the distinguished Alumni Award. In 2020 she was appointed member of the Academia Europea. Previously, she was Vice-Rector for Research and Internationalization (2012-2016) and the Dean of the School of Human Sciences (2005-2012) at UCP. She is a Full Professor of German and Culture Studies at UCP’s School of Human Sciences, and holds a PhD in German Studies.


She founded the Research Centre for Communication and Culture (CECC) at UCP, and has held numerous visiting professorships at the National University of Ireland (Galway), University of Hamburg, PUC-Rio de Janeiro, USJ (Macau) and at Stanford University. Her research has been published in Portuguese, English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. She is the author of over 140 publications, bridging cultural theory, interarts studies, visual culture, culture and conflict. Recent publications include Hazardous Future: Disaster, Representation and the Assessment of Risk (2015) and The Cultural Life of Money (2016).


Isabel Gil is a passionate advocate of international education and has worked consistently to develop international research networks, exploring the different ways in which the practice of the arts and humanities is pivotal to advance a more sustainable and intellectually robust global education agenda. As an expert in international education, she has been a consultant for the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft, the Danish Research Council, the FAPESP (Brazil), the Fulbright Commission in Portugal and the Luso-American Foundation.


As an advocate for women leadership, she has been a mentor for young women entrepreneurs. Within IFCU she created the first task force for women leaders and has been working for the empowerment and the dignity of women worldwide, while simultaneously working with grassroots groups to mentor women worldwide.


In 2019, she was considered amongst Portugal’s top women in science by the Ciência Viva Foundation. She sits in the Advisory Board of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and in the non-executive Board of Trustees of the Edmund de Rothschild Bank (Portugal). Since 2016 she is the President of UCP Foundation.

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