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April 22, 2005 - Aquinas College is pleased to announce that East Grand Rapids High School graduate Gillian Martin Sorenson, Senior Advisor at the United Nations Foundation, will be speaking at Aquinas College on Wednesday, April 27 at 12:30 p.m. in Kretschmer Recital Hall of the Aquinas Art and Music Center. Sorenson's speech, The US and the UN: Can this Marriage be Saved? will be followed by a question and answer session. Parking is available in the Fulton Street lot at the entrance to the College. As Senior Advisor, Sorenson 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; staff and members of Congress; newspaper editorial writers and television correspondents.

From l997 to 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 non-governmental organizations around the world. She was the contact point for the Secretary-General in relations between the UN and parliamentarians, the academic world, religious leaders and other groups committed to peace, justice, development and human rights. As a member of the Secretary-General's inner circle, she had a role in his communications strategy as well as schedule planning. She was also the contact point for certain Host City matters.

Prior to that assignment Sorensen served for four years (1993-1996) as Special Adviser for Public Policy to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali where her duties included directing the UN's worldwide Fiftieth Anniversary observances in l995. 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 l80 Presidents and Prime Ministers participated.

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 costs of diplomatic protection, which continues to this day.

Gillian Martin Sorenson

In the fall of 2002, on leave of absence from the United Nations, she was a Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government (Institute of Politics) at Harvard University. Sorensen is a graduate of Smith College and studied at the Sorbonne. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Women's Forum and the Women's Foreign Policy Group. She previously 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.