BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Timothy E. Wirth
Vice Chair, United Nations Foundation's Board of Directors
Former U.S. Senator from Colorado
Timothy E. Wirth is the Vice Chair of the United Nations Foundation's Board of Directors. Prior to taking this role, Wirth served for 15 years as the founding President of the UN Foundation and the Better World Fund. Both organizations were founded in 1998 through a major financial commitment from Ted Turner to support and strengthen the work of the United Nations.
Wirth began his political career as a White House Fellow under President Lyndon Johnson and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education in the Nixon Administration. In 1970, Wirth returned to his home state of Colorado and successfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. As Chair of the Communications Subcommittee, he led Congressional initiatives to deregulate the communications industry in America. Wirth also authored the Indian Peaks Wilderness Act of 1978, served on the Speaker's Steering and Policy Committee, and was one of the founders of The Democratic Leadership Council. For eight consecutive years, he was selected as one of the 25 most effective Members of Congress.
Wirth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 where he focused on environmental issues, particularly global climate change and population stabilization. In 1988, he organized the historic Hansen hearings on climate change. With his close friend, the late Senator John Heinz (R-PA), he authored "Project 88",outlining the groundbreaking "Cap and Trade" idea which became law in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. He authored the far-reaching Colorado Wilderness Bill which became law in 1993, and with Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) as a co-sponsor, he authored major legislation focused on population stabilization.
Following two decades of elected politics, Wirth was national Co-chair of the Clinton-Gore campaign, and from 1993 to 1997 served in the U.S. Department of State as the first Undersecretary for Global Affairs. He helped organize U.S. foreign policy in the areas of refugees, population, environment, science,human rights and narcotics. He chaired the United States Delegation at the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development, and was the lead U.S. negotiator for the Kyoto Climate Conference. He resigned from the Administration in late 1997 to accept Ted Turner's invitation to be President of the newly created United Nations Foundation.
As President of the UN Foundation (UNF) since its inception in early 1998, Wirth has organized and led the formulation of the Foundation's mission and program priorities, which include the environment, women and population, and children's health. The Foundation also engages in extensive public advocacy, fundraising, and institutional strengthening efforts on behalf of the United Nations.
Prior to entering politics, Wirth was in private business in Colorado. The son of teachers, he was a scholarship student and graduate of Harvard College, served as a Harvard "Baby Dean" after graduation, and received a Ph.D. from Stanford University.