Leonel Fernández was president of the Dominican Republic from 1996 to 2000 and 2004 to 2012. He has been a member of the Inter-American Dialogue since 2001. Fernández graduated from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo with honors in law, before working as a teacher and journalist. He also briefly practiced law before entering politics. Fernández was first elected to the presidency in 1996. At age 42, he was the youngest person ever elected to the office. During his presidency, Fernández worked to end political corruption, broaden the country’s economic base, and improve the nation’s image abroad. Since leaving office, Fernández has been honorary president of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development, through which he has remained active in international affairs.