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Name: Forsyth, Harold
Current Position: Ambassador

Harold W. Forsyth assumed the role of Peru’s ambassador to Washington on August 3, 2011. A senior diplomat, he is also a published author and television personality.

The son of Willy Forsyth and Lucciola Mejia de Forsyth, he was born May 27, 1951, in Lima, Peru. Forsyth completed his secondary education at Champagnat School in Lima and earned an undergraduate degree in Journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, also in Lima. He obtained a Certificate in International Relations Diplomacy from the Diplomatic Academy of Peru, which is run by Peru’s Foreign Ministry, and a Master’s in Political Science at the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, Venezuela.
Forsyth’s first assignment as a member of the Diplomatic Service of Peru was to serve as Third Secretary of Peru’s Embassy in Santiago, Chile, from 1977 to 1978, followed by service as Second Secretary and Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at Peru’s embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 1978 to 1979. Forsyth spent the next four years in Caracas, first as Second Secretary at the Peruvian Embassy there from 1980 to 1982, and from 1982 to 1984 as Chief of Cabinet of the Permanent Secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System, or SELA (Sistema Económico Latinoamericano y del Caribe), an organization founded in 1975 to promote economic development between Latin American and Caribbean countries. Called back to Foreign Ministry Headquarters in Lima, Forsyth served as First Secretary, Chief of Evaluation and Control at the Diplomatic Academy of Peru from 1984 to 1985, and as Under Director of Latin American Cooperation in 1986. Sent overseas again, Forsyth served as Counselor at the Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, from 1987 to 1989, and as Minister-Counselor at the Embassy in Bonn, Germany, from 1990 to 1992.
In the wake of the April 1992 “Presidential Coup,” in which Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori shut down Congress, suspended the constitution, and purged the judiciary, Forsyth was among the protesting diplomats whom Fujimori forced out of the diplomatic service. In 1993, Forsyth co-founded the Democratic Forum, an organization designed to combat authoritarianism, and in 1994 co-founded the Civil Transparency Association, which engages in parallel civilian verification of election results. He served as an International Observer of elections of Colombia (May 1994), Mexico (August 1994), Guatemala (November 1995), Nicaragua (October 1996) and Colombia again (1998).
Elected to Peru’s Congress for the period July 1995 to July 2000, Forsyth served five years on the Committee of Defense, Internal Control and Intelligence and on the Committee of Foreign Affairs. He also worked as a Consultant for the General Secretariat of the Andean Community of Nations in 2000 and 2001.
After Fujimori’s fall from power in November 2000, Forsyth returned to the diplomatic service and was promoted to Ambassador rank, serving as Ambassador to Colombia from November 2001 to November 2004. From November 2004 to March 2006, he served as Ambassador to Italy, and concurrently as Ambassador to San Marino and Turkey, as well as Permanent Representative to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program, which have their headquarters in Rome. Returning to Peru, Forsyth was Deputy Foreign Minister from March to July 2006, and Advisor of the Ministry until June 2009, when he was appointed to one of Peru’s most senior diplomatic posts, as Ambassador to China, where he served until August 2011.
An author and journalist, Forsyth published the book Conversations with Javier Pérez de Cuéllar in 2001, and was editor of the Peruvian edition of the publication, Le Monde Diplomatique, from 2007 to 2009. He has directed two television shows, “Electoral Pulse” (2001) and “Vox Pópuli” (2008-2009), and the radio program “Convocatoria” (1996 and 2000).
Forsyth is married to María Verónica Sommer Mayer, and the couple has three children: Desirée, Harold and George.
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