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United Nations Association of Centre County hosts UN Day dinner

By Arthur Goldschmidt
On Sunday October 21, the United Nations Association of Centre County gathered for dinner at the Ramada Inn in State College. The dinner was, according to chapter officers, the largest one to date. Gillian Sorenson served as key note speaker.
Sorenson spoke about empowering women in a changing world. She provided an overview of some of the specialized United Nations agencies that serve the needs of the world’s poorest people, especially women. She noted that women are increasingly represented among the UN’s leaders, due to some high-profile appointments made by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
She also said she hopes to live to see the day when a woman becomes UN secretary-general.
Sorenson also drew the audience’s attention to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which are now in effect. The United States has not signed either of these conventions.
During the question and answer period, she was asked why the US has failed to sign, and she explained that the two conventions are not likely to get the two-thirds vote needed in both house of Congress, due to opposition from political and religious conservatives.
Educated at Smith College and the Sorbonne, Sorenson served for twelve years as New York City’s Commissioner for the United Nations and the Consular Corps. She then served as special adviser for public policy for UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, where her duties included directing