The Harvard Foundation will host Dominican Republic President Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna on Sept. 24. Fernández will receive the Harvard Foundation Medal for his creation of the Foundation for Global Democracy and Development. His visit is co-sponsored by the Harvard Foundation, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Fernández will meet with Harvard undergraduate students of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, as well as with members of Harvard’s faculty, throughout the day. He will deliver a lecture titled “Development and Democracy in Latin America: The Dominican Example” at the Tsai Auditorium (Center for Government and International Studies) from 5 to 6 p.m.
“President Fernandez Reyna is one of the outstanding young political leaders in the Western Hemisphere,” said S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation. “He is dedicated to social reform and the sustained economic development of the Dominican Republic, and we are pleased that he will share his vision with Harvard students.”
President Fernandez was a guest of the foundation in 1999, when he received the Harvard Foundation Award for his notable contributions to leadership and government from then-University President Neil Rudenstine.
Fernandez’ rise to the presidency follows a unique path. Born in the Dominican Republic, he was largely raised and attended primary school in New York City. He eventually returned to the Dominican Republic and later attended college at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. Fernández became president in August of 1996. During his first three years as president he became well known for his dedication to improving the economic and social opportunity for all sectors of society in the Dominican Republic.