The Australian National University (ANU) is today mourning the sudden passing of one of Australia’s leading foreign policy and national security minds, Professor Allan Gyngell.

Professor Gyngell had strong and long-lasting ties to ANU and played a major role in the University’s mission to advance the nation’s understanding of foreign policy and national security challenges and needs.

He led the University’s Australia Crawford Leadership Forum, connecting government, business and academia to solve some of this country’s major policy challenges, was a board member of the ANU National Security College, and an Honorary Professor of Public Policy in the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.

Beyond ANU, Professor Gyngell led the Australian Institute for International Affairs and was the inaugural Executive Director of the Lowy Institute.

Professor Gyngell also made a profound impact on Australian policymaking and intelligence, as the Director-General of the Australian Office of National Assessments from 2009 to 2013, and as a senior adviser to former prime minister Paul Keating between 1993 and 1996.

He was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2009 for service to international relations.

Former ANU Chancellor and Australian foreign minister Honorary Distinguished Professor Gareth Evans said Professor Gyngell was one of the most significant contributors to Australian policy of his generation.

“Some of Allan’s most important work was as head of ONA,” Professor Evans said.

“He understood the need for intelligence to be gathered from both open and secret sources, and for intelligence advice to be contestable.

“His analysis was always insightful and welcome.”

Long-time friend and colleague, and Head of the ANU National Security College Professor Rory Medcalf said that Professor Gyngell was a “giant” of Australian foreign and security policy who would be profoundly missed. 

“Allan was irreplaceable, a national treasure,” he said.

“He was enormously influential and respected. As a strategic policy thinker he cut to the core of the hardest issues, insisting on clarity. He relished debate.

“He was a quietly generous mentor and supported the careers of so many others, placing their interests, and the nation’s, ahead of his own.

“His book Fear of abandonment is the canonical text of Australian statecraft, for practitioners and scholars alike.

“He will be mourned across the entirety of our foreign policy and security community.”

Top image: Professor Allan Gyngell. Photo: ANU

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James Giggacher

Associate Director, Media and Communications

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