Associate Dean (Development and Impact), ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
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For Des, scholarly effort was a profoundly social activity. Across his career he accumulated a remarkable circle of friends, collaborators, admirers and critics, and, yes, a few enemies too. With correspondence and interactions with presidents, governors-general, prime ministers, ministers, spy chiefs and military leaders, Des’ circles were as wide as they were deep. Perhaps the most important connections in Des’ professional life were with his global network of co-authors. A perusal of his list of publications, which stretches to more than 24 tightly packed pages, indicates that he worked closely with scores of academics, journalists and analysts.
In his research, Des took calculated risks, all in the interest of better serving the peaceful and democratic values that formed his personal ideology. Writing in 2012’s Insurgent Intellectual, a volume that paid tribute to Des’ immense academic contributions, former United States president Jimmy Carter explained that Des’ counsel helped avoid nuclear war:
The fundamental lesson learned was that nuclear war is inherently uncontrollable, and that our fundamental goal must be to reach a world without nuclear weapons, and to eliminate every single nuclear weapon from the face of the earth.
Read the full article Professor Des Ball: The insurgent intellectual in the Sydney Morning Herald.