Former Advisor to Fujimori to Deliver Downey Lecture
Hernando de Soto, advisor to former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, will deliver the Downey Lecture titled “Incorporating the Excluded: A Solution to International Poverty and Terrorism,” on April 16 at 4:30 p.m. in Room 120 of the Yale Law School, 127 Wall St.
De Soto is president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), a private non-profit organization headquartered in Lima, Peru, formed to assist developing and former Soviet nations in the transition to a modern market economy. He was chosen as one of the five leading Latin American innovators of the last century by Time magazine in its special May 1999 issue on “Leaders for the New Millennium.” Additionally, The Economist deemed the ILD one of the two most important think tanks in the world. In its January 2000 issue, the German development magazine, Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit, regarded de Soto as one of the most important development theoreticians of the last millennium.
Born in Arequipa, Peru, in 1941, de Soto did his post-graduate work at the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva. He served as an economist for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, president of the executive committee of the Copper Exporting Countries Organization (CIPEC), managing director of Universal Engineering Corporation, a principal of the Swiss Bank Corporation Consultant Group and a governor of Peru’s Central Reserve Bank.
De Soto was Fujimori’s personal representative and principal advisor until he resigned two months before a coup d’Žtat unseated the president. Between 1988 and 1995, he and the ILD were responsible for some 400 initiatives, laws and regulations that modernized Peru’s economic system. In particular, they designed and ran Peru’s property system which gave titles to more than 1,500,000 families, brought under the law some 300,000 firms that previously operated in the black market and streamlined government procedures to open up the legal system to greater participation by the majority. They initiated the stabilization of Peru’s economy, tamed inflation and allowed Peru to return to international financial markets.
Today, de Soto’s principal activity with the ILD is designing and implementing capital formation programs to empower the poor in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. His New York Times op-ed column of October 15, 2001, “The Constituency of Terror,” addressed the relationship between poverty and terrorism.
De Soto has published two books about economic and political development: “The Other Path,” in the mid-1980s, and “The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else,” at the end of 2000. Among the prizes he has received are the Freedom Prize (Switzerland) and the Fisher Prize (United Kingdom). To date this year, he has received the Goldwater Award (U.S.A.), the Adam Smith Award from the Association of Private Enterprise Education (U.S.A.), and the CARE Canada Award for Outstanding Development Thinking (Canada).
The Downey Fellowship is endowed in memory of Russell H. Downey Jr., a 1944 Yale graduate, by his family and friends. Awarded once every two years by the master of Timothy Dwight College, the Downey Fellowship brings to Yale distinguished individuals, primarily from Latin America, to expose students to significant international issues and perspectives. Previous Downey Fellows have included presidents Raœl Alfons’n (Argentina, 1983-89), Oscar Arias (Costa Rica, 1986-90) and Gonzalo S‡nchez de Lozada (Bolivia, 1993-97).
Following de Soto’s lecture, a reception will be held in the Sterling Library Memorabilia Room.