Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna (born December 26, 1953) is a Dominican politician , lawyer , academic , who was elected President of the Dominican Republic for three terms (1996-2000, 2004-2008, 2008-2012) . He is also the president of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development , established on Fernández 's initiative.
Leonel Fernández's family moved to New York City where he received his primary and secondary education.
In 1978 , Leonel Fernández defended his doctoral thesis at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo . He was given the “J. Humberto Doucudray” Award as the most gifted student in Law.In the 70s of the last century Leonel Fernández became known as a student leader: he was the General Secretary of the Students' Association of the Law and Political Science Faculty at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo , took part in protest actions against the policy of the then president of the country.
In his professional life Fernández worked as a teacher , rendered lawyer services specializing in civil law at various courts of the country. He lectured on Sociology and International Relations at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo and the Latin American and Social Science Faculty. Besides, he gave lectures at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology , United States.
Leonel Fernández was interested in social problems since his youth and , being fascinated by the progressive ideas, joined the Dominican Revolutionary Party. The party leader was Juan Bosch , a political veteran with left-wing views , who later left the Party and created his own one , firstly with a Marxist orientation , then with a centrist position- the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) , which Fernández joined , following his mentor.In the Dominican Liberation Party Fernández held the following important posts : the secretary of the base committee , a member of the Central Committee (1983) and the Political Committee (1990), the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Press.
Under his guidance “Politics, Theory and Action ” magazine was published . Moreover, Fernández collaborated with the party’s official edition “Vanguard of the people” .
In international policy Fernández is of the opinion that the Dominican Republic has to maintain tight trade , integration and political ties with all the countries belonging to such organizations as the Caribbean Community , the Rio Group , the Association of Caribbean States. Thanks to a peaceful policy during his first presidential term , tense for a long time relations with neighbouring Haiti improved significantly.
Today the policy of Leonel Fernández is aimed at small and medium-sized business support , investments in high technology development, cybernetics , modern communication facilities and computerization . President Fernández considers that money firstly should be invested in education and health care , because the future of the whole Dominican nation depends on these spheres.