Former U.S Senator, Colorado
Senator 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. Prior to entering politics he was in private business, but in 1970, he returned to his home state of Colorado and successfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. For eight consecutive years was selected as one of the 25 most effective Members of Congress. Senator Wirth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 where he focused on environmental issues, particularly global climate change and population stabilization.
Following his two decades of elected politics, Senator 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 serve as the President of the newly created United Nations Foundation, a role that he held until 2013. As President, Senator Wirth 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 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. The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, he also served as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was recently honored as a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Programme.