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Alejandro Toledo rose from humble Indian beginnings to serve as the president of Peru from 2001-2006. The fight against poverty through health and educational investment was the central aim of his presidency. Now, more than a year since he left office, Toledo reflects on how democratic and economic reform must go hand in hand if millions of people in Peru and other Latin American countries are to be lifted out of poverty.
In this audio interview, sponsored by the Stanford School of Education and moderated by Stanford sociology and political science professor Larry Diamond, Alejandro Toledo looks at trade-offs that Latin American leaders must make in long-term investments in human capital in the areas of education and short-term economic needs. He considers benefits and challenges associated with measures such as microlending, as well as what needs to be done to reform big global economic institutions like the International Monetary Fund, whose rigid macroeconomic formulas make it difficult for political leaders to navigate between the imperatives of social justice and macroeconomic stability.
Alejandro Toledo, is the former president of Peru. He has worked as a consultant for various international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Labour Organization, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He has also been a regular professor at ESAN, Peru's leading business school. From 1991 to 1994, he was an affiliated researcher in the field of international development at the Harvard Institute for International Development. Toledo was also guest professor at the University of Waseda in Tokyo and at the Japan Foundation. Among Toledo's publications are works on economic growth and on structural reforms.
His latest book, Las Cartas sobre la Mesa (The Cards on the Table), describes his political career, which led him to found the party Perú Posible ("Possible Peru"). At Stanford, Toledo has held a number of visiting fellowships, and is the Payne Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies, and Visiting Scholar at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) for the 2007-2008 academic year. He holds master's degrees in economics and education, and a PhD in education, from the Stanford University School of Education.