Leonel Fernández

Dr. Leonel Fernández was re-elected on May 16, 2008, to his third (non-consecutive) term as constitutional president of the Dominican Republic (his previous terms were from 1996-2000 and 2004-2008).

President Fernández is founder and honorary president of the Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Foundation for Global Democracy and Development), a private, non-partisan, non-profit, research-based think-tank with headquarters in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; offices in New York City, Washington, DC, and Madrid, Spain; and representatives in Paris, France and Geneva, Switzerland, before United Nations organizations including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).  He is also president emeritus of the United Nations Association of the Dominican Republic and president of the Dominican Liberation Party.

President Fernández is a member of various foreign councils and institutions, including Circulo de Montevideo (Circle of Montevideo) (1996), The Carter Center Council of Freely Elected Government Heads (1997), Inter-American Dialogue (2001), Club of Madrid (2001); and presides over the U.S.-Caribbean Executive Club, organized and sponsored by the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington, D.C. (2000).           

President Fernández has been awarded honoris causa degrees by various renowned institutions of higher learning, including Harvard University (1999), Sorbonne University (1999), Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña (National University Pedro Henriquez Ureña) (2000), Seton Hall University (2000), Lehman College (2002) Universidad Estatal de Santiago de Chile (State University of Santiagio, Chile) (2002), Stevens Institute of Technology (2004), Nova Southeastern University (2005), University of Massachusetts (2005), Universidad Estatal de Panamá (State University of Panama) (2005), China's Cultural University in Taiwan (2006), and Hankuk University, South Korea (2006).           

President Fernández was born on December 26, 1953, in the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to José Antonio Fernández and Yolanda Reyna Romero. He is married to Dr. Margarita Cedeño, and has three children, Nicole, Omar, and Yolanda America. In 1962, he migrated to New York City where he completed his secondary schooling. Upon return to the Dominican Republic he enrolled at Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) (Autonomous University of Santo Domingo) where he obtained his juris doctor degree with honors (magna cum laude) in 1978, receiving the J. Humberto Ducoudray award for being the top student in his class.      

After serving as professor at UASD and Facultad Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences), President Fernández distinguished himself and his writing on the freedom of the press, history, sociology, communication, and foreign relations. He has been recognized as one of the most prestigious and brilliant academics of his generation. His published works include: Los Estados Unidos en el Caribe: De la Guerra Fría al Plan Reagan (United States in the Caribbean: From the Cold War to the Reagan Plan), Raíces de un Poder Usurpado (Roots of an Usurped Power) and Nuevo Paradigma (New Paradigm).

Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008