A native of Madrid, Spain, Angel Cabrera earned BS and MS degrees in computer and electrical engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, as well as an MS and a PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He subsequently served as a professor and dean at the IE Business School in Madrid from 1998-2004, and as president of the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona from 2004-12. In 2006 the United Nations Global Compact named Cabrera as its senior advisor for academic affairs, a post he continues to hold. And the World Economic Forum designated him as a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” in 2002, a “Young Global Leader” in 2005, and chairman of the Global Agenda Council for promoting entrepreneurship in 2008.
From July 2008 through July 2010, Cabrera was a Henry Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute. During 2009-10, he was a leader of the “Harnessing Human Potential” track at the Clinton Global Initiative, a major program of the Clinton Foundation. And in 2009 Cabrera co-founded The Oath Project, where he has served as director ever since. Seeking to promote “transformational change” by persuading business leaders to incorporate “social responsibility” into their business practices, The Oath Project believes that the financial crisis of 2008 was caused not by flawed government policies (like the Community Reinvestment Act and its outgrowths), but rather, by the excesses and transgressions of capitalism.
Cabrera has been the president of George Mason University (GMU) since 2012. In addition to his work at GMU, he is a member of the biotech company Inovio's board of directors, the Monterrey Institute of Technology's academic board, the Georgia Institute of Technology's advisory board, the Northern Virginia Technology Council's board of directors, and the Bankinter Foundation for Innovation.
Cabrera supported President Barack Obama's “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) policy, enacted by a 2012 executive order designed not only to prevent the deportation of some two to three million illegal immigrants who had first come to the U.S. as minors, but also to make them eligible for legal residency and work permits. “We hope that the new [Donald Trump] administration recognizes the value of these students to our community and to the nation,” Cabrera wrote in November 2016. “They are filled with talent and promise and, if given the chance, will surely contribute significantly to the good of the United States, which is the only home that most of them have ever known.” That same month, Cabrera joined more than 200 fellow college and university leaders in signing a statement declaring that “DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded.”
In April 2014 Cabrera was delighted when Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring instructed colleges in his state to grant, to potentially thousands of illegal-alien students who resided in Virginia, the tuition discounts normally available only to legal, in-state residents. The inability to obtain such discounts, Cabrera explained, had theretofore been a “definite barrier” preventing many students from enrolling at GMU.
In January 2017 Cabrera issued a statement indicating that he was “deeply concerned” about President Donald Trump's recently signed executive order that: (a) blocked entry into the United States for citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries which were hotbeds of terrorism; (b) placed an indefinite ban on the importation of any further Syrian refugees to the U.S.; and (c) suspended all refugee admissions to America for 120 days. “This is not only unbefitting a country built by immigrants on the ideals of liberty and equality,” said Cabrera, “but it is also a self-inflicted wound that will damage the very innovation that lies at the root of our nation’s prosperity.... For decades, our universities have led the world in scientific production thanks, in no small part, to the immigrants in our ranks.” Urging the Trump administration “to reconsider this executive action and reverse course,” Cabrera added: “It is now more important than ever that we continue to be an example of civility and inclusion, a place where we can all thrive together regardless of where we come from.”