Gillian Sorensen, now a senior advisor and national advocate at the United Nations Foundation, has had a long career working with and for the UN. From 1997-2003, she served as assistant secretary-general for external relations on appointment by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. She was responsible for outreach to civil society, including NGOs committed to peace, justice, development, and human rights. From 1993-1996, she served as special adviser for public policy on appointment by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, where she led the global commemoration of the UN’s 50th anniversary and the coordination of the UN50 Summit.
From 1978-1990, on appointment by Mayor Edward Koch, she was the New York City commissioner for the United Nations, head of the city’s liaison with the world’s largest diplomatic community. Her responsibilities 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 was referred to by The New York Times as “the diplomat’s diplomat” for her work at this time.
Sorensen is a graduate of Smith College and studied at the Sorbonne. She has been a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government (Institute of Politics) at Harvard University. She is a frequent speaker on United Nations issues and the U.S.-UN relationship. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Women’s Foreign Policy Group. In addition to her public service, she has been a delegate to three national presidential conventions.