During a distinguished life and career, Professor Russell Trood embodied qualities including a belief in education, a spirit of philanthropy and the desire to shape and inform policy towards a better and fairer world.
A great friend of Griffith University, his example lives on thanks to the generosity behind the establishment of the Russell Trood Prize for International Relations, donated through Professor Trood’s estate and administered by the Griffith Business School.
For the next 10 years, this $500 annual prize will go to the highest achieving first-year international relations student at Griffith University.
When Professor Trood passed away from thyroid cancer in January 2017, his loss inspired a stream of tributes acknowledging a long and admirable contribution to politics, education, philanthropy, international diplomacy and the community. These were led by the Prime Minister of Australia, The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, who described Professor Trood as “one of Australia’s finest foreign policy minds” and “an unfailingly decent man”.
The respect in which Professor Trood was held was also captured in the following excerpt from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute:
“His warm personal style, gentleness and concern for others meant he was genuinely liked by his colleagues and the broader community. People quickly recognised that Russell was learned with a sharp forensic mind and a deep passion for international affairs. He was an outstanding Australian foreign policy and national security thinker and, as a teacher at both ANU and Griffith University, he shaped and influenced thousands of students from Australia and overseas.”
Born in Melbourne on 5 December 1948, Professor Trood trained in law at the University of Sydney, held a Masters in Strategic Studies from the University of Wales and a PhD in International Relations from Dalhousie University in Canada.
Between 1991-2003, Professor Trood served as Director of the Centre for the Study of Australia-Asia Relations at Griffith University. He was also a member of the Australian Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and the Queensland Council of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.
Professor Trood was a Queensland Liberal Senator between 2004-2010, serving as Deputy Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. In 2011, Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed him to a senior post in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was also the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Australia until 2012.
Upon returning to academia, Professor Trood joined Griffith’s School of Government and International Relations, bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience and international contacts from his time at the political frontline.
Wisdom and passion about Asian engagement
After spearheading the University’s leadership around the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane in 2014, Professor Trood was appointed Director of the Griffith Asia Institute in 2015. He spoke wisely and passionately about the importance of Australia’s engagement with Asia, including from the context of Griffith University.
“It’s not enough to educate our students about Asia’s politics, languages, economics and cultures. That is just one aspect of Griffith’s responsibility,” he said. “This dynamic centre of the world’s economy is moving fast, and not just in China. Throughout the Asia-Pacific region, political, economic and social change is occurring, wealth is growing, a new middle class is emerging and political relations are dynamic.
“What’s more, this is our region, Australia’s region, and … it is right for Griffith to reflect upon its already strong connections with Asia, assess where it sits at this moment, and identify the next stages in its multi-layered relationship with the region.”
Professor Trood maintained a strong focus on Australia’s relations with Asia throughout a distinguished academic career, and his work on international relations, Australian foreign and defence policy and Asian security was published extensively.
He served as President of the United Nations Association of Australia and Director of the Centre for the Study of Australia Asia Relations. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy and an Adjunct Professor at the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.
He was also a member of the Boards of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the National Library of Australia, the Foreign Affairs Council, the Australian Indonesia Institute and the Board of the Australian American Fulbright Commission.
Bringing integrity to every encounter
In paying tribute to Professor Trood, Griffith University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor (Engagement) Professor Martin Betts noted:
“We have lost a fine man and respected academic who brought warmth and integrity to his every encounter at Griffith University. He brought an extensive and intimate understanding of the Asia-Pacific region to his most recent role leading the Griffith Asia Institute, and will be remembered for a special ability to build meaningful relationships across the region.”
Through the Russell Trood Prize for International Relations, those qualities of warmth, integrity, understanding and the nurturing of meaningful relationships will continue to inform and serve Griffith University, reward student endeavour, and honour Professor Trood’s esteemed contribution and commitment.
For those who wish to learn more about the Prize, please visit here. If you wish to make an impact on the lives of Griffith Business School students, please contact Anthony Ash, Development Manager (Business) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0447 907 326