Gillian Martin Sorensen is a Senior Advisor and National Advocate at the United Nations Foundation. An experienced public speaker, she has addressed audiences as diverse as Rotary International and the United States Air Force Academy; university students; journalists and leaders of civil society. In recent years, she has made nearly 800 appearances, speaking about the United Nations and all related issues.
Prior to this, Sorensen served in the United Nations as Assistant Secretary-General for External Relations, from 1997 – 2003, 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.
From 1993-1996, Sorensen served 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 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 in which l80 Presidents and Prime Ministers participated. As a public speaker, she often represented the World Organization in this country and abroad.
Sorensen earlier served from 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.
As a role model to campus leaders for her activism, Sorensen was invited by the Millennium Campus Network (MCN) as a national keynote speaker and honored as a Global Generation Award winner alongside US Secretary of State John Kerry and fellow global leaders at MCN events in 2011.
Sorensen has been selected to be a Harvard Fellow in the unique Advanced Leadership Initiative in 2014.