IEP-UCP: A future-looking project with strong roots in the past

A future-looking project with strong roots in the past: The Catholic University of Portugal’s Institute for Political Studies (IEP) represents a broad reaching and long term strategic project. In an era when knowledge tends to represent the key to development, this Institute stands out as a project with a future of value not only to Portugal but also to the Portuguese language world. Under the prestigious auspices of the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP), the IEP strives to maintain the traditions of innovation and quality that have distinguished the University throughout the national university panorama.

Irrespective of this innovative and forward-looking emphasis, this project is nevertheless very firmly rooted in the past. The Christian values that inspire and structure us date back at least two thousand years and have shaped the culture that we have inherited and do now proudly defend. In the particular case of our Institute, we also aim to renew the fantastic and cosmopolitan example of the Sagres School where Prince Henry the Navigator once placed Portugal in route to the 15th century Voyages of Discovery. And, we furthermore seek to take our inspiration from the elitist, in the very best sense of the term, ambience of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which are so constantly in demand and recalled by students worldwide and down through generations.

The Sagres School project prevails over the international focus of the IEP-UCP. In practice, this results in an intense program of international guest professors and the opportunity for Portuguese student to participate in exchange schemes at some of the very best international universities and institutes (Boston College, Chicago, Colorado College, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Michigan State, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Manhattan Institute, Toronto, King´s College, London, Lincoln and St. Antony’s Colleges, Oxford). This international scope to IEP-UCP activities ranges across the following dimensions:

  • The internationalisation of its teaching staff with particular incidence in Portuguese language countries within the framework of which the IEP-UCP has already established its position as one of the best (arguably the very best) political studies schools in the Portuguese speaking world;
  • The participation of international students from other language backgrounds, with a particular emphasis on the United States and the European Union, as demonstrated by the participation of students from renowned entities such as Harvard University, Boston College, and Wyzsza Szkola Biznesu, Nowy Sacz, Poland in our Summer School/Estoril Political Forum program;
  • An Extended International Scientific Council, made up of international professors with longstanding ties to IEP-UCP and which lecture at the most prestigious British, North American and Brazilian universities;
  • Running a study grant program designed to support students in need from Portuguese language countries ensuring merit-based applications prevail.

The elitist ambience of universities such as Oxford and Cambridge inspire the IEP-UCP across various of the dimensions we consider crucial:

  • From the outset, the IEP-UCP has stood out as a pole of international attraction participating in a network made up of the world’s best universities. In our current globalized world, within which knowledge has been transformed into decision-making capital, the IEP strives to be an important factor of influence on Portugal and the world;
  • The IEP-UCP is simultaneously an elitist and a popular project in keeping with all good universities: open to the very best talents whatever their social origins that are then educated in understanding how the sheer privilege of the education gained generates a demanding sense of public duty and not an air of self-complacency and superiority towards broader society. This we term the education of free and responsible citizens, gentlemen and gentlewomen as it might be expressed;
  • These features, in conjunction with academic excellence, combine to contribute towards ensuring that studying at the IEP-UCP becomes an unforgettable experience for all students who would like to see their children repeat this course of studies before their grandchildren later embark on the same path.