Tribute to Professor Russell Trood

Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Martin Betts, has led tributes from Griffith University to Professor Russell Trood.

The former Director of the Griffith Asia Institute and Liberal Party Senator has died of thyroid cancer.

Professor Betts extended sympathy to Russell Trood’s wife, Dale, and two children, James and Phoebe, and to his many close friends at Griffith University.

“The Griffith community is saddened to hear of Russell’s passing and I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” Professor Betts said.

“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.”

Russell Trood was elected to the Senate for Queensland in 2004 where he represented the Liberal Party until 2010. During this term he served as Deputy Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. In 2011, Labor’s 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.

Professor Trood brought a wealth of knowledge, experience and international contacts from his time at the political frontline to Griffith’s School of Government and International Relations on his subsequent return to academia. He had previously been Director of Griffith’s Centre for the Study of Australia-Asia Relations between 1991 and 2003.

In 2015 he was appointed Director of the Griffith Asia Institute and he spearheaded the university’s leadership around the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane where his knowledge of its impact and significance was valued.

He 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 Australia American Fulbright Commission.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull led tributes in Canberra, describing Russell Trood as “one of Australia’s finest foreign policy minds” and “an unfailingly decent man”.