Professor Ian Taylor of St Andrews University’s School of International Relations has died aged 52.
Professor Taylor and his identical twin brother, Eric, were born in South London to parents Edwin and Ann Taylor.
The family moved to the Isle of Man soon afterwards and in 1978 settled in Windsor, where the brothers attended The Windsor Boys’ School.
After leaving school, Professor Taylor travelled around the Middle East with his brother for two months before attending Leicester Polytechnic, where he undertook a BA (Hons) in History and Politics.
After graduation he spent a year exploring Southern Africa, where he met his wife Joanne in Cape Town. He moved to Durham while Jo undertook her Masters degree, before moving to Hong Kong, where he completed a MPhil in Chinese foreign policy in Southern Africa before moving to the South African town of Stellenbosch and gaining a Doctorate in Political Science.
In 2000, Prof Taylor and his wife moved to Botswana where he taught at Gaborone University for four years, and where their first child, Blythe, was born.
After 11 years abroad, the family returned to Britain after he secured a position at St Andrews University, taking up residence in St Monans, Fife. In 2006, the family welcomed their second child, Archie.
Paying tribute, St Andrews University Principal Professor Sally Mapstone said: “We have lost a friend and colleague who personified our global orientation.”
She said students of Professor Taylor, who she described as a leader in international academic engagement and had a special interest in the political economy of Africa, remembered him for his “bat cave of books, humble attitude, and encyclopaedic mind”.
“A limitless curiosity drove him, and only last week he was awarded a DLitt. by the Senatus Academicus at our university,” said Professor Mapstone.
“Our thoughts and sympathy are with Ian’s family including his wife Jo and two children, Blythe and Archie.”
Professor Taylor’s greatest passions included overseas travel, supporting Brentford FC and tabletop war gaming. He also had an eclectic taste in music.
He enjoyed extensive academic adventures across Europe, Asia, North America and even North Korea. But it was his interest and love for Africa that dominated his life, and he visited the continent as often as he could to travel, research, and teach.
His last trip was to Chad to visit his brother, a UK diplomat who was then head of the UK Government Office in N’Djamena.
At the time of his death, Professor Taylor’s work had been cited more than 9,500 times globally and translated into 14 languages. He had presented his research in 55 different countries, and had taught courses at six foreign universities, including in Israel and Uganda.
He was also Professor Extraordinary in Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, a visiting professor at the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and an Honorary Professor at the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University in China.
Prof essor Taylor served for many years as a Church of Scotland elder in St Monans and was latterly part of the Coastline Community Church.