In 1990, along with family and friends of Anne Frank’s father, Gillian Walnes Perry MBE set up the Anne Frank Trust UK as a partner organisation of the world-famous Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The Trust is a not for profit educational charity in the United Kingdom which uses Anne Frank’s powerful and tragic story to help young people understand and challenge prejudice and hatred, and embrace positive attitudes, responsibility and respect for others.
Gillian retired from running the charity in 2016 and is now lecturing on the ‘Life and Legacy of Anne Frank’, as well as other social history topics and for educational events. The Anne Frank Trust’s team of 35 people now educate over 40,000 young people a year in schools, prisons and community settings. The Trust has worked in some of Britain’s most economically deprived and socially divided areas, training teenagers to become peer educators and giving them the confidence and skills to become socially active citizens.
Over the course of the past 26 years, Gillian has travelled extensively around England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland setting up exhibitions and educational projects, and she has opened Anne Frank exhibits in places as far reaching as Hong Kong, Argentina, South Africa and Brazil. In her many years with the Anne Frank Trust, Gillian has met Presidents, Prime Ministers, government ministers, British and Dutch royalty and people who actually knew Anne and have shared with Gillian their first-hand recollections about her.
Gillian has spoken at the United Nations in front of the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and at 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. She involved Prime Ministers Blair, Brown, Cameron and May, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Hollywood legends Audrey Hepburn, Steven Spielberg and Angelina Jolie in her work. While on a visit to the US in 2016 Gillian was invited to the White House to advise the former First Lady Michelle Obama’s policy team. In 2010 Gillian was honoured for her work by Her Majesty The Queen and was inducted as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. She has also been the recipient of several humanitarian awards and was cited as one of Britain’s Most Inspirational Women by a national magazine.
Gillian has written extensively for newspapers about the impact of Anne Frank on young people, taken part in innumerable TV and radio interviews and documentaries, both in the UK and US. She also has a regular blog in the Huffington Post.