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Gareth Evans

Welcome to the personal website of Gareth Evans

Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC 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 13 books - including 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 nearly 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 is Patron and Emeritus Convenor of the Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.

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.

(Feb 2020)

Click here for a full-length biography.

Recent Speeches, Papers and Comments

"How to achieve a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World", Presentation to #wethepeoples2020 Webinar, UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Asia-Pacific Panel, 26 September 2020

"Making Australian Foreign Policy: Role of the Minister", Guest Online Lecture to International Policymaking in Practice Program, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 17 August 2020

"Atomic bombing starts our moral awakening", Statement by the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, in The Korean Times, 5 August 2020

"Lessons from the Cambodian Genocide: 45 Years On", Address to Virtual Public Lecture Event, The 45th Anniversary of Khmer Rouge Victory: What Lessons Could Cambodia Share?, co-hosted by the Cambodia Institute for Cooperation and Peace and Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, 28 July 2020

"Libya 2011: The Real R2P Story", Response by Gareth Evans to Amin Saikal 'Libya's Double Tragedy' in Project Syndicate, 10 July 2020

"The Dream and the Reality", Global Responsibility to Protect, Vol 12, issue 3, 29 June 2020.

"Pressing the pause button on Sinophobia", in Pearls and Irritations, 19 June 2020

Recent Videos and Broadcasts

"Security through Peace: the urgent need to strengthen diplomacy", Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne, 20 September 2020

"The World after COVID-19", In conversation with Chris Patten, Australian Institute of International Affairs Tasmania Branch, 15 July 2020

"Gareth Evans on Life, Politics, Australia and Good International Citizenship", Interview with Nick Fabbri, Bloom Podcast, 3 July 2020

"2020 ANU Crawford Leadership Forum wrap up", In conversation with Julie Bishop and Richard Maude, Australian National University, 25 June 2020

"Julie Bishop and Gareth Evans on COVID-19", In conversation with Michael Fullilove, Lowy Institute, 12 May 2020

"Cambodia, pandemics and human rights abuses", Interview with Geraldine Doogue, ABC Radio National Saturday Extra, 25 April 2020

"Gareth Evans calls for diversity targets to break 'bamboo ceiling'", Interview with Fran Kelly, ABC Radio National Breakfast, 14 March 2019

All Videos and Broadcasts


Recent Books




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




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 October 2020

Website Contents

Full-length and summary biographies of Gareth Evans.

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

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

Videos and Broadcasts
Since 2011.

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

Selected photographs.

Email and university addresses.


APLN Leadership Network