Dr. Alejandro Toledo was democratically elected President of Peru in 2001. During his five-year term, the central aim of Toledo’s presidency was the fight against poverty through investment in healthcare and education. As a result of sustained economic growth and deliberate social policies directed to the poorest of the poor, extreme poverty was reduced by 25 percent in five years, and employment rose at an average rate of 6 percent from 2004-2006. From 2001-2006, the Peruvian economy grew at an average rate of 6 percent, making it one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America.
Before becoming President, Dr. Toledo worked for the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C., and the United Nations in New York. He first appeared on the international political scene in 1996 when he formed and led a broad democratic coalition that eventually brought down in 2000 the autocratic regime of Alberto Fujimori.
Toledo was born in a small and remote village in the Peruvian Andes, 12,000 feet above sea level. He grew up in extreme poverty in a family of sixteen siblings. At the age of six, Toledo worked as a street shoe shiner and also sold newspapers and lottery tickets to supplement the family income. Thanks to a series of accidental opportunities, he was able to escape from extreme poverty and attend the most prestigious academic centers of the world, later becoming one of the most prominent democratic leaders of Latin America. Dr. Toledo is the first Peruvian president of indigenous descent to be democratically elected in five hundred years.
Toledo received a BA in Economics and Business Administration from the University of San Francisco. He has an MA in Economics, and an MA and Ph.D. in the Economics of Human Resources from the School Education, Stanford University. During his academic career, Dr. Toledo was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and a Research Associate at Waseda University in Tokyo.
After finishing his term as President, Toledo returned to Stanford for three years, where he was a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and also a Payne Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Simultaneously, Dr. Toledo founded and continues to serve as the President of the Global Center for Development and Democracy (www.cgdd.org), which is based in Latin America, the United States, and the European Union. In 2009-2010 Dr. Toledo was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., and also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution.
Dr. Toledo, in recent years has published on policy oriented academic issues related to Economic Growth, Inclusiveness and Democracy. Most recently he has led several Electoral Observation Missions with NDI and the Carter Center, in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Tunisia.
Dr. Toledo has lectured in more than forty five countries on issues related to Economic Growth, Poverty and Inequality Reduction and Democracy, as well as on the Benefits of Human-Capital Investment. He has received 62 Honorary Doctoral Degrees from prestigious universities in Peru and around the world.
In April 2011 Dr. Toledo participated unsuccessfully in a Presidential race in Peru.