Alejandro Toledo was the first democratically elected President of Peru, serving from July 2001-July 2006.
The fight against poverty through health and educational investment was the central aim of Toledo's presidency. As a result of sustained economic growth and deliberate social policies directed to the most poor, extreme poverty was reduced by 25 percent in five years. Employment grew at an average rate of 6 percent from 2004-2006. During the five years of Toledo’s presidency, the Peruvian economy grew at an average rate of 6 percent, registering as one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America.
Before becoming President, Toledo worked for the World Bank, 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 to bring down 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 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, 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. Toledo received a BA in Economics and Business Administration from the University of San Francisco. He has a MA in Economics, a MA in Economics of Human Resources, and a PhD in Economics of Human Resources, all from Stanford University. He was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and a Research Associate at Waseda University in Tokyo. Last year, Toledo was the Distinguished Visitor in Residence at Stanford University’s Center for advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.
He is currently the 2007-2008 Payne Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at FSI, a CDDRL Visiting Scholar, is President of the Global Center for Development and Democracy (GCDD) based in Latin America, the U.S.A. and the European Union. Toledo has lectured in more than forty countries on issues of poverty, economic growth, and democracy as well as on the benefits of human capital investment.
He has received forty-six honorary doctoral degrees from prestigious universities around the world.