Senior Advisor/National Advocate, United Nations Foundation
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 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 180 Presidents and Prime Ministers participated.
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. During the 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 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.
Global Governance, Who Leads: Technology or a Distinct Mindset?