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Former Australian Foreign Minister and President of International Crisis Group

February 5th, 2010

Area of Expertise: International Relations, Law and Human Rights, Terrorism, War and Conflict
Geographical Expertise - Region: Asia, Europe, Oceania
Geographical Expertise - Country: Australia
Language: English
Field of Work: Activist/Humanitarian, Author/Novelist, Government, Non-Governmental, United Nations
City: Canberra
Country: Australia
Continent: Australia


Evans1 Gareth EvansGareth Evans is the former foreign minister of Australia and the former president and chief executive of International Crisis Group, an independent international non-governmental organization with over 140 staff members on five continents. Through field-based analysis and high-level policy advocacy, this agency works to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts around the world.

Mr. Evans is an expert in conflict resolution, with a background in law. Before entering the Australian Parliament in 1978, he was a legal scholar specializing in constitutional and civil liberties law and a barrister specializing in industrial law. He also became a Queen’s Counsel (QC) in Australia in 1983.

A member of the Australian Parliament for twenty-one years, he was Senator for Victoria from 1978 to 1996, serving as Deputy Leader (1987-1993), as Leader (1993-1996) of the Government, and a member of the House of Representatives from 1996 until September 1999, serving as Deputy Leader of the Opposition (1996-1998). He was also a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments for thirteen years in the posts of Attorney General (1983-84), Minister for Resources and Energy (1984-87), Minister for Transport and Communications (1987-88), and Foreign Minister (1988-1996).

Mr. Evans was one of Australia’s longest serving foreign ministers, and best known internationally for his roles in developing the UN peace plan for Cambodia, bringing to a conclusion the international Chemical Weapons Convention, founding the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and initiating the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. From 2000-2001, he was co-chair, with Mohamed Sahnoun, of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), appointed by the Government of Canada, which published its report ‘The Responsibility to Protect’ in December 2001. He had previously served as a member of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, co-chaired by Cyrus Vance and David Hamburg (1994-97).

Mr. Evans has also held important positions within the United Nations system. He was a member of the of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change, whose report entitled ‘A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility’ was published in December 2004. He was also a member of the Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction, which was sponsored by Sweden and chaired by Hans Blix that reported in June 2006. Additionally, Mr. Evans was a member of the International Task Force on Global Public Goods, sponsored by Sweden and France and chaired by Ernesto Zedillo, which reported in September 2006. Currently, he is a member of the U.N. Secretary-General’s Advisory Committee on the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities.

Mr. Evans has maintained strong academic and scholarly connections throughout his career, lecturing at many universities around the world. In May 2004, he was elected as an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College in Oxford. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of UN Studies at Yale, the Advisory Council of the Institute for International Studies at Stanford, and the Editorial Advisory Board of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs.

Among other current positions, Gareth Evans is a Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association, a member of the International Council of the Asia Society, a member of the International Advisory Board of the Pew Global Attitudes Survey, and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy of Australian National University.

Because of his studies and professional achievements, Mr. Evans has been awarded various honors. He was Australian Humanist of the Year in 1990 and won the ANZAC Peace Prize in 1994 for his work on Cambodia. He also was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2001 and was awarded Honorary Doctorates of Laws by Melbourne University in 2002 and Carleton University in 2005. In 1995, he received from the United States the $150,000 Grawemeyer Prize for Ideas Improving World Order for his Foreign Policy article “Cooperative Security and Intrastate Conflict.” Other international awards include the Chilean Order of Merit (Grand Cross), given in 1999 primarily for his work in initiating APEC.

Mr. Evans has written or edited eight books – including Cooperating for Peace: The Global Agenda for the 1990s (1993) and Australia’s Foreign Relations (1991, 2nd ed 1995). He also has published over ninety chapters in books and journal articles, and many more newspaper and magazine articles, on foreign relations, politics, human rights, and legal reform.

Born in 1944, Mr. Evans went to Melbourne High School and holds first class honours degrees in Law from Melbourne University (BA, LLB (Hons)) and in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Oxford University (MA).

Mr. Evans is married to Professor Merran Evans, an econometrician who is Pro Vice Chancellor at Monash University in Australia. They have two adult children, Caitlin and Eamon. His leisure interests are reading and writing, travel, architecture, opera, golf, and Australian Rules football.

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