Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor and Professor The Hon Gareth Evans, Chancellor, invite the community to celebrate the life and work of brilliant researcher, analyst, writer and educator, Professor Des Ball.
"Des Ball was enormously influential on multiple fronts: reshaping our thinking about the possibility of a self-reliant Australian defence policy, how we should respond to the risks posed by the presence on our soil of Pine Gap and the other US defence and intelligence facilities, how we should advance regional security cooperation, and how we and the region should understand and respond to the ethnic minority conflicts along the Thai-Burma border. But the most important single contribution of his career was global in its scope and implications: changing the way in which policymakers in Washington and Moscow understood the risks associated with any resort at all to nuclear weapons, and in the process helping to save the planet from the catastrophic impact of all-out nuclear war.
For a scholar deeply conscious of our common humanity, never content just with conceptual theorizing, always focused on real world outcomes benefiting real people - it doesn't get much better than this. And in the long and proud history of The Australian National University, it didn't ever get much better for us. Des Ball was a giant in every way, and we will miss him profoundly." - Prof The Hon Gareth Evans AC QC, ANU Chancellor