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Ricardo Joaquin Alfaro Edit Profile

also known as Ricardo Joaquín Alfaro Jované

ambassador , politician , writer

Ricardo J. Alfaro was born in Panama City on August 20, 1882. He was the President of Panama from January 16, 1931 to June 5, 1932. Panamanian diplomat, lawyer;. Decorations: Legion d’Honneur, Officier de lTnstruction Publique (France); commander, Orden Isabel la Católica; grand cross, Orden del Sol (Peru), Al Mérito (Ecuador), Crown of Italy, Order of the Holy Sepulchre; grand officer. Orden del Libertador (Venezuela).


ALFARO, Ricardo was born on August 20, 1882 in Panamá. Son of Luis R. Alfaro and Hortensia Jované de Alfaro.


In 1905 he was appointed secretary of foreign affairs, and in 1908, he held the post of General Consul in Barcelona, Spain. In 1912 he was appointed the Legal Adviser to Panama Legation in Washington which related to the border dispute between Panama and Costa Rica. He tought as a professor of history at the Lyceum of the National Institute until 1921. He also had the position of Professor of Civil Law at the National Law School. In 1917 Alfaro founded the National Red Cross, where he worked as treasurer of the Board. In 1920 he published a book called “The Trust” which proposed the adaptation of the concept of trusting Anglo civil legislation and served as a model for trusting law in several Latin American countries. Between 1918 and 1922 he held the position of Secretary of the Interior and Justice.

From 1922 to 1930, and from 1933 to 1936, Dr. Alfaro served as Panamanian envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the U.S. In 1926, with the help of distinguished lexicographers and linguists of Panama, he founded the Panamanian Academy of Language, corporation of the Royal Spanish Academy, the Panamanian Academy of History and the Panamanian Institute of Hispanic Culture.

Ricardo J. Alfaro was the President of the Republic of Panama during the years 1931 and 1932, and in 1940 he was nominated for the same post. In 1945 he was appointed the Head of the Relief Mission and Rehabilitation Administration of the United Nations (UNRRA). Later he was a member of the commission led by Eleanor Roosevelt; also he made the draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Paris, in 1948.

In 1950 he published the first edition of the Dictionary of Anglicism. In 1948 Dr Alfaro was elected member of the United Nations International Law Commission for a period of five years and during the period from 1952 to 1953 he led the committee. From 1948 to 1959 he was appointed Extraordinary Professor of International Law at the University of Panama.

In 1966 Dr Alfaro served as the arbiter of international conciliation and arbitration of the International Olive Council in Madrid. In March 1970 the Board declared Interim Government Dr. Ricardo J. Alfaro as "Distinguished Citizen of the Republic, who was recognized to have statesman attributes and virtues." In May of the same year the City Council declared "Meritorious Son District of Panama” and awarded the Order of the Municipality of Panama to Dr. Ricardo J. Alfaro.


  • book

    • The first edition of the Dictionary of Anglicism

    • The Trust


Academia Panameña de la Historia (founding member and first president). Academia Panameña de la Lengua (founding member). Instituto de Derecho Internacional Americano.

Sociedad Americana de Derecho Internacional. Académie Diplomatique, Paris. Sociedad Panameña de Derecho Internacional (founding member and president).

Société de la Légion d’Honneur, France. Unión Ibero-Americana de Madrid (founding member and first president of the Panamanian delegation). Corresponding member: Academia Española de la Lengua.

Academia Española de la Historia, Madrid. Academia Nacional de la Historia, Caracas. Academia Americana de la Historia, Buenos Aires.

  • United Nations International Law Commission

    1948 - 1953


  • Other Interests

    Policy, laws, family


Married Amelia Lyons. Children: Ivan J., Rogelio E., Amelita Yolanda, and Victor R.

Ramon Luis Alfaro

Hortensia Jované

José Alfaro - Military

Amelia Lyons de Alfaro

Victor Ricardo - doctor

Ivan Jose

Rogelio Edwin

Frank H. Weller

H. Cabell Maddux