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UPEI and University of Aruba and the COE to host 2019 International Island Conference

The first “International Conference on Small Island States and Sub-National Island Jurisdictions” will be hosted by the University of Aruba, in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (COE) and the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, which is shared between the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) in Canada and the University of Malta. The dates are March 26-29, 2019.

Screen capture from Aruba Today 

The theme of the conference is “Island States and Island Territories: Sharing Stories of Island Life, Governance and Global Engagement.” The main focus of the conference is on the differences and similarities between those islands that are fully independent “Small Island Developing States” (SIDs) and those that maintain a political or constitutional link with metropolitan powers; “Subnational Island Jurisdictions” or SNIJs. One of the primary aims of the conference is to discuss the life, governance and global engagement on, for and with SIDS and SNIJs.

The conference’s international planning committee is chaired by UNESCO co-chair, Dr. Jim Randall (UPEI). Local co-hosts include Arno Boersma and Francielle Laclé from the COE, Deborah Alexander from the Centre for Lifelong Learning at University of Aruba, and Glenn Thodé, Rector of the U of A, and Patrick Arens, Business Director. The planning committee comprises scholars from several academic institutions including the University of the West Indies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University of Malta, Leiden University, and University of the West of England.

As Conference Chair Jim Randall notes, “How islands govern themselves and the relations they negotiate with other jurisdictions has a major impact on their sustainable development. This conference brings together international, regional and local experts on island life to share their ideas and research results. I am especially excited to compare development perspectives from independent island states with those from  island territories.”

Says University of Aruba Rector, Mr. Glenn Thodé, “Good governance is needed for a just society, for ensuring human rights and for empowering citizens. This applies to all sectors of society, from public to private, NGOs, and academia. What are the aspects unique to island territories? How do the institutional structures on Small Island States assist or limit the ability to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? We hope to engage with many on this unique event that will create a platform bringing to light these inquiries.”

The conference features keynote addresses by four distinguished guests. The first, speaking on the opening morning of March 27, is the Honourable Evelyna C. Wever-Croes, Prime Minister of Aruba & Minister of General Affairs, Integrity, Energy, Innovation, & Government Organization. Her talk will focus on good governance.  She believes taking a human-centred approach to policy-making combined with significant investment in innovation is the only way to help build a more sustainable future for generations to come.

The second is Honourable Leona Romeo-Marlin, Prime Minister of Sint Maarten & Minister of General Affairs, speaking at 08:30 March 28. Her address will focus on island resilience and governance in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes.

The third keynote speaker, speaking at a free public event on Thursday, March 28, 19:30-21:30, is Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, a world-renowned scholar and researcher who has dedicated considerable efforts and energies to the growing field of island studies research―particularly that which seeks to contribute to a greater appreciation for different categories of small island territories. His keynote address is entitled, “Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head: A day in the life of a SNIJ resident.”

Finally, the fourth keynote speaker is Dr. Peter Clegg, Associate Professor in Politics and Head of the Department of Health and Social Sciences at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He was formerly Visiting Research Fellow at both KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of South East Asian and Caribbean Studies, Leiden, The Netherlands, and at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), University of the West Indies, Jamaica. His presentation will be “Beyond Brexit and Cotonou: New Regionalisms in the Caribbean?”

All keynote addresses will take place at Aula, University of Aruba.

The conference will appeal to scholars, policy-makers, NGO representatives, students and members of the general public interested in talking about island life from Aruba, the Caribbean and internationally.

You can register for the entire conference or just one day by going to  https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/1st-international-conference-on-island-statesisland-territories-tickets-52213877112. Details of a free public forum will be announced shortly.

For more information, see http://projects.upei.ca/unescochair/island-statesisland-territories-an-international-conference/, or contact islands.conferencearuba@ua.aw.

The Planning Committee is grateful for the contributions made by the sponsors to this event. These include The Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Guardian Group Fatum, University of the West of England, Aruba Tourism Authority, and the Think to Do Institute.

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UPEI signs MOU with University of the West Indies
In December, UPEI and the University of the West Indies signed their first ever Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to pursue collaboration in teaching and research to inform social and economic development in developing countries.The collaboration is to be implemented through the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at The UWI and the Institute of Island Studies (IIS) at UPEI and may involve activities such as joint research, collaborative development of academic programmes, joint teaching and supervision of students, student and faculty exchange, joint publications, and staging of joint seminars and conferences.The UWI, which is rated in the top five percent of universities globally by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, was established in 1948 and currently serves 17 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean, all of them with the exception of one being island states. With eight faculties across its campuses in Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and an Open Campus with a presence in all 17 countries, The UWI’s vision is to be an excellent global university rooted in the Caribbean. SALISES is a research and graduate teaching entity located within The UWI’s School of Graduate Studies and Research. It aims to be an internationally renowned institution for graduate education and research-based solutions in development. Its mandate is to conduct training and research of a regional, multidisciplinary and policy-oriented nature to serve the needs of small developing countries like those in the Caribbean.Remarking on the collaboration, Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee, University Director of SALISES, said,“We at SALISES are pleased to collaborate with colleagues at the Institute of Island Studies. We share similar research and teaching interests. This collaboration will enhance our publication, research and teaching on sustainable development for small and vulnerable economies.”For his part, Professor James Randall, Chair of the Executive Committee under the direction of which IIS operates and co-chair of a UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, said, “The IIS and its affiliated academic programs at the University of Prince Edward Island have established research and post-graduate learning networks with island-based colleagues and institutions around the world. We are pleased to start developing productive research and exchange relationships with the world-class scholars and graduate students at SALISES and The UWI.”The MOU is for an initial period of three years.
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UPEI signs MOU with Japan’s University of the Ryukyus

On November 21, UPEI President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz and Island Studies professor and UNESCO Chair Jim Randall welcomed a delegation from the University of the Ryukyus, an island university based in Okinawa, Japan.

The purpose was to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities, to facilitate academic exchange of students and of faculty. Said University of the Ryukyus President Hajime Oshiro, “The University of Prince Edward Island and the University of the Ryukyus have been engaging in academic exchange led mainly by faculty members, specially, in the field of island studies. I myself specialize in island economics and was making research collaboration with the Institute of Island Studies of your university. The Research Institute for Islands and Sustainability of our university has also been collaborating with the Institute of Island Studies.”

Faculty from the two universities have visited back and forth since 2014, when Prof. Yoko Fujita, University of the Ryukyus Vice President and Director of their Research Institute for Islands and Sustainability, visited UPEI to attend the Excellence Network of Island Territories (RETI) annual conference.  In 2017, the University of the Ryukyus hosted RETI; both co-holders of the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, Drs. Jim Randall and Godfrey Baldacchino, attended.

Faculty from the two universities have visited back and forth since 2014, when Prof. Yoko Fujita, University of the Ryukyus Vice President and Director of their Research Institute for Islands and Sustainability, visited UPEI to attend the Excellence Network of Island Territories (RETI) annual conference.  In 2017, the University of the Ryukyus hosted RETI; both co-holders of the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, Drs. Jim Randall and Godfrey Baldacchino, attended.

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WELCOME TO THE INSTITUTE OF ISLAND STUDIES!

Our vision:

  • to be the leading centre of excellence on issues related to island studies scholarship, public policy, and engagement.

Our mandate:

  • To encourage a deep knowledge, understanding, and expression of Prince Edward Island;
  • To serve as a bridge between the University and Island communities;
  • To contribute to the formulation of public policy in Prince Edward Island;
  • To undertake and facilitate island studies research and education at local, national, and global scales.

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