Former president of Dominican Republic to speak on campus

Leonel Fernández, who was president of the Dominican Republic from 1996 to 2000 and from 2004 to 2012, will visit Yale University as a Chubb Fellow on Tuesday, April 9.

His talk — titled “In the 21st Century: Does Latin America Matter?” — will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Rm. 127 of Yale Law School, 127 Wall St. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be broadcast live on the Yale YouTube channel.

A lawyer and an academic, Fernández became the first elected president of the Dominican Republic in 1996 under the  Dominican Liberation Party — referred to in Spanish as “Partido de la Liberación Dominicana” (PLD).

During his presidency, Fernández instituted dynamic and aggressive policies that reinserted the Dominican Republic into the international sphere, and brought the country out of its traditional isolation, thus beginning processes of regional integration, open markets, and globalization.

He was elected to a second term of office in 2004 with an absolute majority and the second-highest percentage ever in the country’s history (57%). His victory was due in large part to the collapse of the Dominican economy that had occurred since his first term in office. Fernández was re-elected as president in 2008, serving for four more years until 2012.

Fernández was a member of the PLD's Central Committee in 1983, and its Political Committee in 1990. He later served as the party’s press secretary and secretary of international relations, and he remains its president.

Fernández has been awarded honorary degrees from several prestigious universities. The author of numerous books, he is a contributing member of the Spanish edition of Foreign Affairs, and he has collaborated with various international newspapers regarding issues of communication, culture, history, and law.

The Chubb Fellowship is one of the highest honors accorded to a visiting speaker. The fellowship is administered by the master of Timothy Dwight College, Jeffrey Brenzel ’75. Since 1949, Chubb Fellows have included former U.S. presidents, numerous heads of state, and prominent public figures in government, industry, and the arts.