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I have never had a harder time beginning a text. I mould and remould my words, I mix and remix them, I discard them and search for new ones, again and again, but no matter what I do, it all sounds wrong.
Alex Danchev is dead.
Where to start? With lamenting that his death, in August 2016, was unexpected and untimely and impossible to understand and accept? With noting that he will be dearly missed – by his family, by his friends, by his colleagues; by his students, by his readers, by me? Or with highlighting the key moments of his career, from his education and his time in the army to his professorships at the universities of Keele, Nottingham and, most recently, St Andrews? This is not my task. Numerous obituaries have already done so in detail.
I would, instead, like to offer a personal appreciation of Alex as a person and as an international relations academic. He was one of the most generous, genuine and cre- ative scholars I have ever met – a true role model in every sense of the word.
I want to reflect on what we can learn from the legacy that Alex leaves behind