"Values and Interests in Foreign Policy Making: the case for good international citizenship"

Prof. the Hon. Gareth Evans, AC, QC

Public Lecture by Professor the Hon Gareth Evans, AC, QC
Chancellor and an Honorary Professorial Fellow of the Australian National University; and 2016-2017 Simons Visiting Chair in International Law and Human Security at Simon Fraser University
Simon Fraser Universtiy 
Vancouver, Canada
September 15, 2016

Abstract:  Why should Canadians, Australians or anyone else care about human rights atrocities, health epidemics, environmental catastrophes, weapons proliferation or any other problems afflicting faraway countries when they do not have any direct or immediate impact on our own physical security or economic prosperity, viz. our traditionally defined national interests?   Are concerns about ‘value’ issues of this kind just optional add-ons in the conduct of states’ foreign policy?  Gareth Evans will spell out in this lecture his long-held belief, which has its origins in the Pearsonian liberal tradition, and on which he acted as Australia’s foreign minister, that in the contemporary world there is a third kind of national interest which every country should pursue – that in being, and being seen to be, a good international citizen. His argument – which he will illustrate with reference to issues such as nuclear disarmament, aid policy, the treatment of asylum seekers, and the responsibility to protect populations against genocide and other crimes against humanity  – is that acting as a good international citizen wins hard-headed reputational and reciprocal-action returns, and as such bridges the gulf between idealism and realism by giving realists good reasons for behaving like idealists.

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Gareth Evans is Chancellor and an Honorary Professorial Fellow of the Australian National University. He was a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments in Australia 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. 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 12 books - including Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play 2015 (co-author), and The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and for All (2009). He  co-chaired the Canada-sponsored International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (2000-01), and the Australia-Japan sponsored International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (2008-10), and currently Co-Chairs the International Advisory Board of the New-York based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. He has a number of national and international awards, including from the governments of Chile and South Africa, and the 2010 Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute 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.

Prof. the Hon Gareth Evans is also one of The Simons Foundation's Peace Leaders.