John W. Burton was born on March 2, 1915 in Melbourne, Australia. He was educated at Newington College, Sydney, the University of Sydney, and the London School of Economics. Burton’s early career was marked with academic as well as diplomatic success. He was part of the Australian delegation sent to San Francisco after World War II to set up the United Nations. He became the youngest Permanent Secretary of the Australian Diplomatic Service and was appointed High Commissioner in Ceylon, but resigned to seek elected office.
In 1954 Burton’s career focused increasingly on academics. During this time he published his first book on foreign policy titled The Alternative. In 1963, he moved to England to teach at the International Relations Program at University College, London, where the Centre for the Analysis of Conflict was originally set up. Over the next twenty years, Burton published many books on the subject of diplomacy and conflict resolution.
Burton and the original Centre for the Analysis of Conflict moved to the University of Kent at Canterbury in 1979 where he remained until 1981. He then moved to the University of South Carolina where he was awarded an International Studies Association Fellowship. After a brief but productive period at the University of Maryland, Burton was persuaded to join George Mason University to help in the development of a new Centre for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, now known as the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR).
Major works of John Burton
– Conflict and Communication; The Use of Controlled Communication in International Relations
– Systems, States, Diplomacy and Rules
– World Society
– The Study of World Society; A London Perspective