Gillian Martin Sorensen, formerly United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for External Relations, now 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 and faculty; Members and staff 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 Adviser for Public Policy on appointment by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali where her duties included directing the UN's global Fiftieth Anniversary observances in l995. 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 in which l80 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 over 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 over 30,000 diplomats. She secured Federal reimbursement to New York for the costs of diplomatic protection, which continues to this day. Known for her skills as a consensus builder and negotiator, during this time she was described as the "Diplomat's Diplomat" by the New York Times.
Gillian 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 teaching Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government (Institute of Politics) at Harvard University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Women's Foreign Policy Group. She is a Fellow at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy. Previously, she served as a Board Member of the Academic Council of the United Nations and for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on appointment by the President of the United States.
She has been honored for her work by the UN Ambassadors; the New York Consular Corps; Rotary International; the United Nations Association; the International Chamber of Commerce; the New York Bar Association and at the United States State Department.
In addition to her public service, she has been active in politics and was a delegate to three national Presidential conventions. She is married to Theodore C. Sorensen, writer and attorney.
US and UN
Human Rights and Current Affairs
Future of the UN and UN Reform
UN and Faith-based Organizations
If you would like to plan a speaking event with Gillian, she can be contacted at jewing [at] unfoundation [dot] org