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Gareth Evans

Welcome to the personal website of Gareth Evans

Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC KC FASSA FAIIA is Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, where he was Chancellor from 2010-19. He was a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments from 1983-96, in the posts of Attorney General, Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Transport and Communications and - from 1988-96 - Foreign Minister. During his 21 years in Australian politics he was Leader of the Government in the Senate (1993-96) and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (1996-98). From 2000 to 2009 he was President and CEO of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, the independent global conflict prevention and resolution organisation.

He has written or edited 14 books - including Good International Citizenship: The Case for Decency (2022), Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir (2017), Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play 2015 (co-author), Inside the Hawke-Keating Government: A Cabinet Diary (2014), and The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and for All (2008); has published many newspaper articles and some 150 journal articles, chapters, and reports on foreign relations, human rights and legal and constitutional reform; has honorary doctorates from Melbourne, Sydney, Carleton and Queen’s Universities; and has lectured at many universities around the world, including Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Yale, Stanford and the Central European University.

He has co-chaired two major International Commissions, on Intervention and State Sovereignty (2000-01), and Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (2008-10), and has been a member of a number of others. He currently Co-Chairs the International Advisory Board of the New-York based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and Chair of the Advisory Board of the ANU Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership, and is founding Convenor and Board Member of the Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN).

Gareth Evans was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2012 for his "eminent service to international relations, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, as an adviser to governments on global policy matters, to conflict prevention and resolution, and to arms control and disarmament", and in the same year was elected an honorary Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia (FASSA). In 2016 he was awarded by the Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Asialink Medal "for long-term commitment to improving Australia-Asia relations". In December 2015 he was made a Companion of the Order of O.R. Tambo by South Africa for his contributions to the anti-apartheid movement. Foreign Policy magazine cited him as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers for 2011 "for making 'the responsibility to protect' more than academic". In 2010 he was awarded the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Four Freedoms Award for Freedom from Fear, for his pioneering work on the Responsibility to Protect concept and his contributions to conflict prevention and resolution, arms control and disarmament.

(Oct 2022)

Click here for a full-length biography.


Recent Speeches, Papers and Comments

"Remembering Bruce Grant", Melbourne, 1 December 2022

"Peace, Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia: Keeping the flame alive", Address to Australian South East Asian Network Cambodia Legacy Event, Parliament House, Canberra, 28 November 2022

"Universal Human Rights in a changing global order: Refocusing the narrative", 2022 Wallenstein Lecture, Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV), The Hague, 1 November 2022

"Lessons from the Collaery case", in The Saturday Paper, 15 October 2022

"The Collaery Case and Australia's National Interests", Panel Presentation to Gilbert & Tobin Seminar, 'Lessons from the Collaery Case', Sydney, 6 October 2022

"Why the Horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki must never be repeated", Address at Opening of Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition, Menzies Library, Australian National University, Canberra, 5 September 2022

"International Norms after Ukraine: Nuclear Weapons and Atrocity Crimes", Presentation to Diplomacy Forum Roundtable, Australian National University, Canberra, 5 September 2022

"Australia's Minister of Everything", in Project Syndicate (worldwide distribution), 26 August 2022

"The UN's Peace and Security role: A view from the Coalface", Lecture to SPSS UN: Review and Reform Course, University of Melbourne, 22 August 2022

"Russian Atrocities in Ukraine & The Future of R2P", Address to Young Diplomats Society, University of Melbourne, 17 August 2022

"Australia-China Relations: Being Happy Together Again", Remarks at launch of David Walker & Li Yao, Happy Together: Bridging the Australia-China Divide (MUP, 2022), Sydney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne, 8 July 2022

Recent Video and Audio

"Lessons learned negotiating with evil as Foreign Minister", Interview with One Decision podcast, 13 October 2022

"Good International Citizenship: The Case for Decency", Gareth Evans in Conversation with Hugh White, The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, University of South Australia, 1 June 2022

"Cooperative Security and Nuclear Challenges in the 21st Century", Gareth Evans in Conversation with Kevin Clements and Ramesh Thakur, Toda Peace Institute, recorded 6 May 2022

"Expert Voices on Atrocity Prevention", Interview with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, GCR2P, 15 April 2022

"Unravelling International Law", Interview with the ANU International Law Society, ANU College of Law, 14 April 2022

"Good International Citizenship", Interview with Virginia Trioli, The Chat Room (from 2 hour 02 minutes), ABC Melbourne Radio, 21 March 2022

"Good International Citizenship: The Case for Decency", In Conversation with Michelle Grattan, ANU/The Canberra Times Meet the Author series, 17 March 2022

"Conversations: Gareth Evans on Good International Citizenship", Interview with Michael Fullilove, Lowy Institute Conversations, 17 March 2022

"Is Australia a good international citizen?", Interview with Paul Barclay, Big Ideas, ABC Radio National, 16 March 2022

"Is Australia a good international citizen?", Interview with Geraldine Doogue, Saturday Extra, ABC Radio National, 12 March 2022

All Video and Audio

 

Recent Books

 

 

diary

Good International Citizenship: The Case for Decency (Monash University Publishing, March 2022)

Why should we in Australia, or any country, care about poverty, human rights atrocities, health epidemics, environmental catastrophes, weapons proliferation or any other problems afflicting faraway countries, when they don't, as is often the case, have any direct or immediate impact on our own safety or prosperity? Gareth Evans' answer is the approach he adopted when Australia's foreign minister. He argues that to be, and be seen to be, a good international citizen - a state that cares about other people's suffering, and does everything reasonably possible to alleviate it - is both a moral imperative and a matter of hard-headed national interest. The case for decency in conducting our international relations is based both on the reality of our common humanity, and a national interest just as compelling as the traditional duo of security and prosperity.

From G. John Ikenberry's review for Foreign Affairs:

In this inspiring and deeply reasoned book, Evans makes the case for a foreign policy that binds the interests of one's country to the well-being of the wider world. Building on ideas first advanced during his years as Australia's foreign minister, from 1988 to 1996, Evans argues that a state's "good international citizenship" can be pursued in four general ways: through the generosity of its foreign aid, through its responses to human rights violations, through its reactions to genocide and its aftermath, and through its contributions to addressing existential global dangers, such as global warming and nuclear war. He is most eloquent in making the case that states should see good international citizenship as both a moral imperative and a hardheaded calculation of the national interest. A state's enlightened foreign policy would facilitate global problem solving, encourage reciprocity, and help generate soft power. Reflecting on Australia's foreign policy record, Evans offers a mixed assessment. Australian leaders have laudably pursued "value issues" - offering relief in natural disasters and extending humanitarian assistance. But these isolated acts of charity are insufficient; ultimately, states must understand good citizenship in the international community as integral to their self-interest and national security.

From Graeme Dobell's review for ASPI The Strategist:

For the society of states, Russian President Vladimir Putin's monstrous appointment with history in Ukraine is trauma and test and teaching moment. ... It's an achingly apposite moment for one of Australia's finest foreign ministers to ponder morality in foreign policy. He mounts the case for 'the boy scout' stuff ... The intellectual judo throw on the realists is that morality is itself a core national interest that can support and advance geopolitical and prosperity purposes. Australia's leaders need to be both idealistic and pragmatic ... In a line often heard from the lips of Gareth Evans: 'If you can't ride two horses at once, you've no right to be in the bloody circus.'

From Derek McDougall's review for AIIA Australian Outlook:

Gareth Evans has done it again, this time with an excellent contribution to Monash University Publishing's "In the National Interest" series. The book's main sections cover the moral and national interest imperatives for good international citizenship: Australia's record (overseas aid; human rights; conflict, atrocities and refugees; and pandemics, climate and nuclear weapons) and "the politics of decency." The writing is succinct while also conveying a good level of detail, particularly in the analysis of Australia's record ... and has many sharp insights. The book provides a useful overview of a key set of issues in Australian foreign policy, helpful to both Australian and non-Australian readers seeking a better understanding of these issues.

From Alison Pert's review for ANZSIL Perspective:

It might be thought that good international citizenship is a quaint, almost quixotic, ideal given how times have changed since the heady multilateral days of Hawke and Keating. The world has shifted markedly to the right and inwards towards nationalism, even ultra-nationalism, and in Ukraine we are witnessing a full-blown aggressive war of the kind we once thought unimaginable. One might ask, what room is there today for good international citizenship? Evans would firmly respond, however, that good international citizenship assumes all the more importance in crises such as these, and is needed now more than ever. His book is a timely reminder of, as he puts it, "our common humanity".

From Mercedes Page's review for Australian Foreign Affairs:

Evans concludes it's not too late for the nation to become a good international citizen again and sets out - sharply and succinctly - how leaders can gain support for a more expansive and idealistic foreign policy. He explains that harnessing the power of reason is particularly important for leaders appealing to cynical politicians, advisers and public servants who are "rather immune to moral arguments". He argues that being a good international citizen is as important as promoting economic and security interests.

From Alison Broinowski's review for Australian Book Review:

Over the course of a long and distinguished public life, Gareth Evans has held fast to his conviction that as individuals aspire to personal decency and moral behaviour, the same should be replicated among nations. As a foreign minister and an author, and in his international organisations and academic roles, Evans has consistently advocated 'good international citizenship'. Care for our common humanity he sees as both a moral imperative and a national interest... Having consistent 'purposes beyond ourselves' (Hedley Bull's expression, which Evans recalls) is an investment in the soft power on which a middle-sized country like Australia depends.

The book can be purchased here

 

 

diary

Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir (Melbourne University Press, 2017) xiii + 402 pp

‘Gareth Evans's career serves as an inspiration on how a spirit of optimism coupled with a keen insight for the art of the possible can create real positive change...The man that emerges is truly one of Australia's leading figures and one of the world's great internationalists.’ - KOFI ANNAN

‘Like its author, this book - a must read for anyone interested in Australian and international politics - is lively, at times "in your face", with no holds barred.’ - BOB HAWKE

‘This is a memoir with a purpose. Its timely defence of politics and public service is required reading for anyone seriously interested in Australia and our place in the world.’ - GEORGE MEGALOGENIS

The Memoir can be purchased from MUP here

Some comments:

"For decades, Evans has cut a striking figure on the global stage. As a scholar, activist, politician, and Australia's minister for foreign affairs from 1988 to 1996, Evans has been a charismatic and indefatigable presence, rallying the forces of internationalism to work toward genocide prevention, conflict resolution, social justice, and nuclear disarmament. In this revealing, even heartwarming memoir, Evans looks back and reflects on the great issues that shaped his passions and defined his career" - JOHN IKENBERRY, Foreign Affairs

"...crackles with wit, self-deprecating humour and illuminating insights into both politics and the complexities of public policy" - NORMAN ABJORENSEN, Sydney Morning Herald

"...a vividly articulated account of life in and after politics, passionately argued and richly anecdotal...a lucid, brilliant political memoir" - PETER CRAVEN, The Weekend Australian

"compelling new political memoir, destined to be a standout...Evans is in a different league. His memoir brims with intellectual clarity and substance infused with national and international experience in policy-making" - TROY BRAMSTON, The Australian

"a rollicking good read; a big life of outright fun by a man who leaned in" - GERALDINE DOOGUE, ABC Radio National

"In this political memoir, Evans covers a wide range of policy issues, from education and industry to war and nuclear disarmament. In a style that is nimble, witty, thorough and precise, Evans takes the reader through the business of high-level policy-making" - Books + Publishing

"One of the funniest political memoirs I've read - full of laugh out loud stories - JON FAINE, ABC Radio The Conversation Hour

"This dense summary of a notably successful political life is as good as you'll find" - ROBERT SOLOMON, Federal Gallery

Some videos and podcasts:

"Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir", Gareth Evans in conversation with Michelle Grattan

"Eat, Drink and be Literary", Gareth Evans in conversation with Laura Tingle on Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir

"Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir", Gareth Evans in conversation with Michael Kirby

Some reviews:

Nayan Chanda's review for Global Asia

John Ikenberry's review for Foreign Affairs

Christopher Hill's review for International Affairs

Troy Bramston's review for The Australian

Ramesh Thakur reviews for Asia & The Pacific Policy Society and Australian Outlook

Graeme Dobell's review for ASPI The Strategist

Peter Craven's review for Weekend Australian

James Walter's review for Australian Book Review

Norman Abjorensen's review for Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times

Robert Solomon's review for Federal Gallery

Alison Broinowski's review for Sydney Morning Herald

 

 

diary

Inside the Hawke-Keating Government: A Cabinet Diary (Melbourne University Press, 2014) xvii + 414 pp

‘A joy to read. Fascinating in its wealth of detail, Gareth Evans’s first-hand account is utterly absorbing. Some of the exchanges are gems, as is the book as a piece of political history.’ ALAN RAMSEY

‘The irrepressible Gareth Evans doesn’t hold back in a diary that records the day-to-day achievements and frustrations of ministerial life and is bitingly frank about colleagues.’ MICHELLE GRATTAN

‘Gareth Evans at his best - sharp, compelling and revelatory’ - PAUL KELLY

The Diary can be purchased from MUP here

Peter Craven's review for The Australian

Nick Richardson's review for the Herald Sun

Jonathan Green's review for the SMH/Age

David Day's review for the Australian Book Review

Denis Atkin's report for the Courier Mail

Tony Wright's report for the SMH/Age

 

 

Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play 2015 (with Ramesh Thakur and Tanya Ogilvie-White co-authors), Canberra, Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, 2015, xxv + 304 pp

An updated and expanded edition of the report first published in 2013,  describing the world’s progress - or lack of it - in meeting the commitments and recommendations of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, the 2010-12-14 Nuclear Security Summits, and the 2009 Eliminating Nuclear Threats report of the Evans-Kawaguchi International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.

Like its highly-praised predecessor, the 2015 State of Play report - launched in Geneva, Vienna, Washington DC and other world capitalsin March and April 2015 - is a comprehensive analysis of current issues in nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, security and peaceful uses, and will prove an invaluable  information resource and advocacy tool for policymakers and civil society activists.

Available online here

Site last updated 2 December 2022

Website Contents

Biography
Full-length and summary biographies of Gareth Evans.

Publications
Books, monographs, chapters, journal articles and opinion page articles by Gareth Evans, and co-authored commission reports.

Speeches
Major speeches and papers by Gareth Evans, as foreign minister and subsequently.

Video and Audio
Since 2011.

Organisations
Information about organisations with which Gareth Evans is or has been associated.

Images
Selected photographs.

Contact
Email and university addresses.




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