Gillian Sorensen

  • Fall 2002

Gillian Martin Sorensen is on sabbatical from the United Nations, where she serves as Assistant Secretary General for External Relations. She is responsible for outreach to civil society, including accredited non-governmental organizations around the world. She has been the contact point for the Secretary-General in relations between the United Nations and parliamentarians, the academic world, religious leaders, and other groups committed to peace, justice, development and human rights.

Mrs. Sorensen served for four years (1993-1996) as Special Advisor for Public Policy to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali where her duties in that post included directing the United Nations worldwide 50th Anniversary observances in 1995. As the official overseeing the global commemoration, 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 Headquarters in New York in which 180 Presidents and Prime Ministers participated.

Mrs. Sorensen earlier served for over 12 years (1978-1990) as New York City Commissioner for the United Nations and Consular Corps, head of the City's liaison office with the world's largest diplomatic community. From 1990 to 1993, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the country's oldest human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry and racism in America. Mrs. Sorensen is a frequent speaker on United Nations issues, addressing audiences as diverse as Rotary International and the Air Force Academy; university students; members and staff of congress; and newspaper editorial writers and television correspondents. She is a graduate of Smith College and studied at the Sorbonne. She is married to Theodore C. Sorensen, attorney, writer, and former Special Counsel to president John F. Kennedy. They are parents of a daughter, Juliet. Find out more about Mrs. Sorensen's study group.