Hernando de Soto is president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), the Lima, Peru-based think tank that advocates for property-rights reforms in developing nations.
He was chosen as one of the five leading Latin American innovators of the century by Time in its special May 1999 issue on "Leaders for the New Millenium."
Mr. de Soto was born in Arequipa, Peru, in 1941 and did his post-graduate work at the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva.
He has served as an economist for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, as a principal of the Swiss Bank Corporation Consultant Group, and as a governor of Peru's Central Reserve Bank.
Mr. de Soto was President Alberto Fujimori's Personal Representative and Principal Advisor until he resigned at the time of the President's coup d'état.
During that period, he and the ILD were responsible for some 400 laws and regulations that have modernized Peru's economic system, opening it up to greater participation by the majority.
Finally, in 1992, Mr. de Soto was the keynote speaker at a TransAtlantic Futures forum, speaking on the topic, "Are Democracies and Markets Failing in Latin America?"