On February 10, 2012, Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández presented Professor Howard J. Wiarda with the Orden de Colón, the highest honor bestowed by that government on a civilian. The ceremony was held at the National Palace in Santo Domingo. In honoring Dr. Wiarda, President Fernández spoke of his “inestimable contributions” to Dominican scholarship. About 150 guests and friends gathered for the event.
Howard J. Wiarda is CHDS Associate Director for Research and Publications, as well as the Dean Rusk Professor of International Relations and the founding head of the Department of International Affairs at the University of Georgia. He is considered one of the country’s leading experts on foreign policy, comparative politics, and international affairs.
Dr. Wiarda began his academic career in the Dominican Republic fifty years ago when he wrote his M.A. thesis (and first book) on “The Methods of Control in the Dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.” He wrote his PhD thesis (and second and third books) on the post-Trujillo “Transition to Democracy” and the US military intervention, a prelude to Vietnam of 1965. Professor Wiarda has written an additional seven books, one in three volumes, about the Dominican Republic. A leading Latin America expert and a prolific author of more than 70 books, he has also done extensive research on Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia, the Middle East, and Southern Africa.
President Fernández, who was a student of Dr. Wiarda’s 35 years ago, is finishing his third elected term this year and is thought to be a leading prospect for a high position in the UN or other international organization.