Gillian Sorensen | Human Rights: The Heart of the United Nations

Where do we go from here?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 (5:00 PM – 6:15 PM)
McCord Auditorium, 3rd Floor, Dallas Hall (map)

Gillian Sorensen, Senior Advisor, United Nations Foundation

Gillian Martin Sorensen, senior advisor at the United Nations Foundation, is a national advocate on matters related to the United Nations and the United States-United Nations relationship, addressing audiences as diverse as Rotary International and the Air Force Academy; university students; staff and members of Congress; journalists and leaders of civil society.

From 1997 to 2003, she served as assistant secretary-general for external relations on appointment by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. She was responsible for outreach to non-governmental organizations and was the contact point for the secretary-general with parliamentarians, the academic world, religious leaders and other groups committed to peace, justice, development and human rights.

Prior to that, Mrs. Sorensen served from 1993 to 1996 as special advisor for public policy on appointment by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, where her duties included directing the UN’s global 50th anniversary observances in 1995. She led the planning of conferences, debates, documentaries, concerts and exhibits; the preparation of books and curricular materials, and the coordination of the UN50 Summit at which 180 presidents and prime ministers participated. She is an experienced public speaker and often represented the World Organization in this country and abroad.

Mrs. Sorensen earlier served for more than 12 years (1978-1990) on appointment by Mayor Edward I. Koch as New York city commissioner for the United Nations and Consular Corps, head of the city’s liaison with the world’s largest diplomatic community. Her responsibilities included matters related to diplomatic security and immunity, housing and education, and other cultural and business contacts between the host city and more than 30,000 diplomats. She secured federal reimbursement to New York for the costs of diplomatic protection, which continues to this day.

Mrs. Sorensen is a graduate of Smith College and studied at the Sorbonne. In the fall of 2002, on leave from the UN, she was a Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government (Institute of Politics) at Harvard University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy. Previously, she served as a board member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on appointment by the president of the United States. In addition to her public service, she has been active in politics and was a delegate to three national presidential conventions.

Program Partners:



Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity