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Gareth Evans

Welcome to the personal website of Gareth Evans

Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC FASSA FAIIA has been Chancellor of the Australian National University since January 2010. 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.

(Jan 2019)

Click here for a full-length biography.

Recent Speeches, Papers and Comments

"Don Dunstan: A visionary leader", Launch of Angela Woollacott, Don Dunstan: The Visionary Politician who changed Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2019), ANU, Canberra, 15 October 2019

"How to be a successful political leader", in The Conversation, 14 October 2019

"Political Leadership: What makes for success", Presentation at Academy of Social Sciences in Australia Leon Mann Leadership Forum, ANU House, Melbourne, 11 October 2019

"Europe at the Crossroads: Global Power or Also-Ran?", 2019 Schuman Lecture, ANU Centre for European Studies, Canberra, 26 September 2019

"The changing face of Australian racism", Keynote Address to 20th Anniversary of the Herbert & Valmae Freilich Project for the Study of Bigotry, University House, Canberra, 19 September 2019

"Emotion, reason and nuclear disarmament", in Pearls and Irritations, 18 September 2019

"The 'bamboo ceiling' in Australia is real", in The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 September 2019

"Asian-Australian Leadership Summit", Welcome and Opening Remarks to the Asian-Australian Leadership Summit Gala Dinner, State Library Victoria, Melbourne, 12 September 2019

"So you want to be a diplomat? Preparing for an international career", Keynote Address to Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) Victoria 15th International Careers Conference, Melbourne, 30 August 2019

"Nuclear Disarmament: An Impossible Dream?", Inaugural Hiroshima Lecture, Hiroshima, 22 August 2019

"Opening Harry Hartog Bookstore", Opening Remarks at Harry Hartog Bookstore launch, Australian National University, 16 July 2019

"2019 Crawford Australian Leadership Forum", Opening Remarks to ANU Crawford Leadership Forum, Opening Gala Dinner, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 23 June 2019

"Asian-Australians in the Asian Century", 2019 Asian Australian Foundation Oration, Melbourne, 19 June 2019

"Bob Hawke State Memorial Service", Australia House, London, 7 June 2019

Recent Videos and Broadcasts

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

"Responsibility to Protect", Interview with Swiss Radio Television, 25 October 2018

"Champagne With Dictators", Interview with ABC Four Corners, 30 July 2018

"Australia-Indonesia relations", Interview with The Australia-Indonesia Centre on launch of the third issue of Australian Foreign Affairs, 23 July 2018

"Australia-Korea relations: Strengthening middle power bonds", Keynote address to 2018 Symposium on Australia-Korea relations, 20 April 2018

"Incorrigible Optimist", Interview with Nayan Chanda on YaleGlobal Online, 22 March 2018

"Gareth Evans on optimism and the power of diplomacy", Interview with Kim Williams on ABC Radio National What Keeps Me Awake, 27 October 2017

"Call for Australia to intervene in Cambodia's democratic crisis", Interview with Linda Mottram on ABC Radio PM, 24 October 2017

"Canberra conversations with Gareth Evans", Interview with Sam Roggeveen on The Interpreter podcast, Lowy Institute, 20 October 2017

"Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir", Interview with Emma Griffiths on ABC Radio Brisbane Drive, 17 October 2017

"Incorrigible Optimist", Gareth Evans in conversation with Sally Warhaft, Wheeler Centre Fifth Estate, 16 October 2017

"Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir", Gareth Evans in conversation with Michelle Grattan, 12 October 2017

"Eat, Drink and be Literary", Gareth Evans in conversation with Laura Tingle on Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir, 11 October 2017

"The Conversation Hour", Interview with Jon Faine and Lyn Allison on ABC Radio Melbourne, 9 October 2017

"Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir", Gareth Evans in conversation with Michael Kirby, Writers at Stanton, 5 October 2017

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 16 October 2019

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