This is a Special Edition of the Asian Leaders Forum.
Alejandro Toledo was democratically-elected president of Peru in July 2001, and held that post until July 2006. He was also the first democratically elected Peruvian president of indigenous descent in 500 years. Raised in extreme poverty in the remote Peruvian Andes, Toledo first appeared on the international political scene in 1996 when he formed and led a broad democratic coalition in the streets of Peru to bring down the autocratic regime of Alberto Fujimori. This coalition had the support of the international democratic community.
Before becoming president, Dr. Toledo worked for the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, and the United Nations in New York. During his academic years, Professor Toledo was a visiting scholar and a research associate at Harvard University and Waseda University in Tokyo. He is currently an economics professor (on leave) at the University of ESAN in Peru. He received his PhD at Stanford University in economics.
Kantathi Suphamongkhon served as Thailand’s 39th minister of foreign affairs. He also served as Thailand’s trade representative, which was an equivalent position to Trade Minister in the cabinet. Dr. Kantathi was twice elected as a member of the Thai House of Representatives. He has also served as foreign affairs adviser to the prime minister of Thailand as well as foreign affairs adviser to the president of the Thai parliament.
During his diplomatic career, he represented Thailand at the United Nations for four years. He has also served as chairman of Human Security Network. Currently, Dr. Kantathi is University of California Regents’ Professor at UCLA, as well as senior fellow at the Burkle Center for International Relations at UCLA.
Michael Armacost was the United States ambassador to the Philippines and to Japan. From 1982 to 1984, he served as U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, and was a key force in helping the country undergo a nonviolent transition to democracy. In 1989, President George Bush tapped him to become ambassador to Japan, considered one of the most important and sensitive U.S. diplomatic posts abroad.
Armacost began his career in academia, as a professor of government at Pomona College. Following a stint on the State Department policy planning and coordination staff, he became a special assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo from 1972-74, his first foreign diplomatic post. Thereafter, he held senior Asian affairs and international security posts in the State Department, Defense Department, and the National Security Council. From 1995 to 2002, Armacost served as president of Washington DC's Brookings Institution. Since 2002, he has been the Shorenstein Distinguished Fellow at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University. Dr. Armacost received his PhD from Columbia University in public law and government.