YEREVAN — Gregorio Belaunde, a French and Peruvian national born in 1961 in Paris, is an Independent International Risk Management Consultant. He graduated with a degree in law in France (1979-1982) at Université Paris 2. He holds a master’s degree in international and European law from Université Paris 2 (1983), and an additional Post-Graduate degree (DEA) in Private International Law and International Trade and Finance Law, from Université Paris 1 (1984). Then he also graduated in law in Peru. He has had more than 20 years of experience in banking with the Credit Lyonnais Group in Hong Kong. Returning to Peru end 2005 he first was the Head of the Credit Risk Supervision Department in the SBS, the Peruvian financial and insurance regulator. Between 2012 and 2016, he was the director of the Risk Management Directorate in the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Peru. In early 2017, he began a new career as international consultant, moving first to Switzerland, and then in February 2022, he established his base in Yerevan, where he continues the same work.
Gregorio, in this conversation I would like to discuss on your Armenian heritage and your activities in Armenia.
While I was based in Geneva, I was working for around five institutions including one part of the UN. But I was mainly working for two multilateral development banks, and my contracts rapidly started to concern mainly Armenia on one hand (what is funny: when it began my Armenian background was not even known, I just applied for an opportunity and I was chosen due to my overall professional background), and then the work continued.
Whether in Armenia, where more of my activity takes place (and also more recently in Georgia), or in West Africa, I work mainly providing technical assistance in a rather little-known field of public financial management, managing risks which can derail the state budgets. I had already done this in Peru. I had a consulting contract under a system first created with the help of the United Nations Development Project and aimed at attracting more talent into the State, which became part of the recruiting system for high level cadres. So, I continued in the same fields when my wife and I had to return to Europe for family reasons, and we just moved to Armenia, when I continue with the same activities for the two same multilateral development banks, including trips to West Africa.
What interests do Latin American states have in Armenia?
Two countries in Latin America have a sizeable Armenian community compared to their overall population: Argentina, from where a well-known ethnic Armenian hails (Karas Wines is a brand developed by his group) and Uruguay, the first country in the World to explicitly recognize the Armenian Genocide. Those two countries have a special bond with Armenia, even if the Armenians there, are mainly heirs to the survivors of the Genocide, so they come mainly from regions from the former Western Armenia and from what is now Syria. Brazil also has a sizeable ethnic Armenian minority for the same reasons. The interest Latin American countries have, or can have, more than trade per se, is reciprocal tourism, together with exchanges in the culinary field, Armenia being a fantastic place in terms of cuisine, like several countries in Latin America, notably Peru and Mexico. And you may know that Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil have excellent beef. Latin American countries are essentially Christian and for them to discover the first Christian nation in history can be extremely interesting, apart from visiting Jerusalem and nearby places. Another factor is that other countries of Latin America also have, like Armenia, very old civilizations, and peoples who continue to keep alive those old traditions: it is notably the case of Peru, Bolivia and Mexico. There is this increasing sense that having indigenous peoples who have survived in spite of very disruptive invasions is something we have in common.