2008 Payne Lecture Series: Can the Poor Afford Democracy? A Presidential Perspective (Final Lecture)
The Honorable Alejandro Toledo was democratically elected President of Peru from July 2001-July 2006.
He was born in a small and remote village in the Peruvian Andes, 12,000 feet above sea level. He is one of sixteen brothers and sisters from a family of extreme poverty. At the age of six, he worked as a street shoe shiner and simultaneously sold newspapers and lotteries to supplement the family income.
Thanks to an accidental access to education, Dr. Toledo was able to go from extreme poverty to the most prestigious academic centers of the world, later becoming one of the most prominent democratic leaders of Latin America. He is the first Peruvian president of indigenous descent to be democratically elected in five hundred years.
He received a BA from San Francisco University in Economics and Business Administration. From Stanford University, he received a MA in Economics of Human Resources, a MA in Economics, and a PhD in Economics of Human Resources.