Carlyle A. Thayer

Emeritus Professor, University of New South Wales, Canberra

Carlyle A. Thayer is Emeritus Professor, The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy and Director of Thayer Consultancy, a small business registered in Australia in 2002 that provides political analysis of current regional security issues and other research support to selected clients.

Professor Thayer was educated at Brown University in the United States (1963-67). After graduation he joined the International Voluntary Services, took an intensive course in Vietnamese, and then taught English as a second language at the An Loc Town High School, Binh Long province. South Vietnam (1967-68). Next, he joined the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and taught English, science and mathematics at Swaneng Hill School in Serowe, Republic of Botswana (1968-69).

Thayer then completed an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies at Yale where he studied Vietnamese language, including intensive courses at Cornell University (summer 1970) and Southern Illinois University (summer 1971). He then completed his PhD in International Relation at The Australian National University. He began his academic career teaching at the Bendigo Institute of Technology (renamed the Bendigo College of Advanced Education) in Victoria from 1975-78 before joining UNSW. He taught first in the Faculty of Military Studies at The Royal Military College-Duntroon (1979-85) before transferring to the Australian Defence Force Academy. He was Head of the Department of Politics from (1995-97). On retirement at the end of 2010 he was conferred the title Emeritus Professor.

Professor Thayer’s career includes four major periods of secondment: Department of Political and Social Change, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ANU (1991-94), Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, U.S. Pacific Command, Honolulu, Hawaii (1999-2001); Deakin University’s On-Site Academic Co-ordinator for the senior defence course at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, Australian Defence College (2002-04), and the Australian Command and Staff College (2006-07 and 2010).

In 2005, Thayer was appointed the C. V. Starr Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. In 2008, he was appointed the Inaugural Frances M and Stephen H. Fuller Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Center for International Studies, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.

Professor Thayer was a founding member and first National Secretary of the Vietnam Studies Association of Australia (1994-98), a member of the Executive of the Vietnam Studies Group of the U.S. Association of Asian Studies (2000-02) and National Secretary of the Asian Studies Association of Australia (1996-98).

Professor Thayer first visited reunified Vietnam in 1981 and has returned regularly since then. He is the author of over 500 academic publications including War By Other Means: National Liberation and Revolution in Vietnam, 1954-1960 (1989), Vietnam (Asia-Australia Briefing Papers, 1992), The Vietnam People’s Army Under Doi Moi (1994), Beyond Indochina (Adelphi Paper, 1995), Vietnam People’s Army: Development and Modernization (2009), co-author of Vietnam Since 1975 – Two Views From Australia (1982), Soviet Relations with India and Vietnam, 1945-1992 (1993), Need for Reform and Governance Capacities in Asia: Country Report Vietnam (2013), and co-editor of Vietnam and the Rule of Law (1993) and Vietnamese Foreign Policy in Transition (1999). In addition, Professor Thayer has a high media profile giving over 300 interviews a year to newspapers, radio and TV in Australia, Vietnam and internationally.