Gareth Evans at the podiumGareth Evans on Commonwealth Diplomacy and the End of Apartheid [Picture credit: Commonwealth Round Table Australia]

The Round Table Australia chapter held its inaugural Anthony Low Commonwealth lecture in honour of the former Australian National University (ANU) Vice–Chancellor and Commonwealth of Nations scholar, the late Professor Anthony Low.

The lecture was delivered in November by ANU Chancellor and Honorary Professorial Fellow, Gareth Evans. The topic was Commonwealth Diplomacy and the End of Apartheid.

Gareth Evans outlined the career and influence of the late Professor Low and his role in laying the foundations for African history research, providing a UK “haven” for South African students, activists and academics during the apartheid years and his academic years in the UK and Australia.

Evans, himself a former Australian Foreign Minister, described in detail what he called one of the Commonwealth’s “finest achievements” and “most cherished role” in its co-ordinating stance on apartheid. He described the then Commonwealth Secretary-General, Sir Shridath Ramphal as “a force of nature” and outlined the Commonwealth’s role in “accelerating” the release of Nelson Mandela.

He told his audience that Australia had an “instinct for good international citizenship” even if this had occasional lapses. Professor Evans said that the Commonwealth remained “distinctive” by standing outside of the global axis of power with its diversity of membership.

You can hear the full inaugural Anthony Low Commonwealth Lecture.

The ANU website has background information on Anthony Low, Gareth Evans and other resources on Australian Commonwealth and diplomatic relations.