John Burton (diplomat)
Photo: University Relations, George Mason University
2 March 1915|
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
23 June 2010 (aged 95)|
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
University of Sydney
London School of Economics
|Occupation||Public Servant, author, academic|
|Parent(s)||Rev. John Wear Burton|
Burton was born in Melbourne, the son of the Reverend John Wear Burton Methodist Minister. He was educated at Newington College (1924–1932) and went on to graduate from the University of Sydney in 1937.
In 1937 he became a member of the Commonwealth Public Service from where he was granted a Commonwealth scholarship to pursue a doctorate at the London School of Economics. He joined the Department of External Affairs in 1941 and served as private secretary to Herbert Vere Evatt. In 1947, aged 32, he became Secretary of the Department of External Affairs and held that position until June 1950. At the beginning of 1951 he took up the position of Australian High Commissioner to Ceylon, but resigned to return home and contest the Federal election of that year in the electorate of Lowe. As ALP candidate he was beaten by William McMahon, a future Prime Minister of Australia.
While writing his first book, The Alternative, Burton farmed outside Canberra and in 1960 was awarded a fellowship at the Australian National University. Two years later the Rockefeller Foundation awarded him a grant to study neutralism in Africa and Asia. In 1963, while a Reader in International Relations at University College University of London, he established the Centre for the Analysis of Conflict. He then went on to hold fellowships at numerous universities while living in Canberra.
In introducing Burton as a guest on Radio National, Phillip Adams said; "John Burton was probably the most controversial and visionary public servant of the 20th Century. Branded a pink eminence of the Labor Party by conservative critics, he was clearly one of the most important intellectuals and policy-makers associated with the Curtin Labor Government of the 1940s. As a close associate of 'Doc' Evatt and head of the department of External Affairs (now Foreign Affairs) he did more to shape Australian foreign policy towards Asia and the Pacific than any other person before or since."
John Burton's theoretical work on conflict resolution has been highly influential in setting up conflict resolution as an academic discipline in its own right, which is very much needed in the modern globalised world because of the greater potential for disputes between different ethnic and religious communities. In Australia, Burton's work greatly influenced the pioneering course in conflict resolution at Macquarie University, Sydney
Scholarships, fellowships and grants
- Scholarship - London School of Economics (1941)
- Fellowship - Australian National University (1960)
- Grant - Rockefeller Foundation (1962)
- Fellowship - University of South Carolina (1982)
- Fellowship - University of Maryland (1983)
- Fellowship - George Mason University (1982)
- "The Alternative" (1954)
- "Labour in transition" (1957)
- "International relations: a general theory" (1965)
- "Controlled communication" (1969)
- "World society" (1972)
- "Internationale politiek" (1974)
- "Deviance, terrorism & war: the process of solving unsolved social and political problems" (1979)
- "Resolving deep-rooted conflict: a handbook" (1987)
- "Conflict resolution as a political system" (1988)
- "On the need for conflict prevention" (1989)
- "Conflict: resolution & provention [The Conflict Series vol 1]" (1990)
- "Conflict: human needs theory [The Conflict Series vol 2]" (1993)
- "Conflict: readings in management and resolution [The Conflict Series vol 3]" (1990)
- "Conflict: practices in management, settlement and resolution [The Conflict Series vol 4]" (1990)
- "Conflict resolution: its language and processes" (1996)
- "Death notice". Canberra Times. 25 June 2010.
- Thornley, A.W., "Burton, John Wear (1875–1970)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian National University
- Register of Past Students 1863–1998, Sydney: Newington College, 1999, p. 26
- "Burton, John Wear (1915–2010): From Canberra Times", Obituaries Australia, Australian National University
- Brown, Malcolm, "Burton, John Wear (1915–2010): From Sydney Morning Herald", Obituaries Australia, Australian National University
- Steketee, Mike, "Burton, John Wear (1915–2010): From Australian", Obituaries Australia, Australian National University
- CA 18: partment of External Affairs [II], Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 9 December 2013
- "Dr. Burton's new post". The West Australian. 13 February 1951. p. 2.
- McDonald, Hamish, "Burton, John Wear (1915–2010): From Sydney Morning Herald", Obituaries Australia, Australian National University
- http://nla.gov.au/nla.ms-ms8405 National Library of Australia
- http://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/stories/2004/1136848.htm ABC Radio National
- Tillett, Gregory (2006). Resolving conflict: A practical approach. Melbourne; oxford University Press. ISBN 0195517539.
- Dunn, David J. (2004), From Power Politics to Conflict Resolution: The Work of John W Burton, London: Palgrave Macmillan
| Secretary of the Department of External Affairs
1947 – 1950
| Australian High Commissioner to Ceylon
as Chargé d'affaires