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 comparative studies of Prince Edward Island and other islands.


September 12, 2016 | 7 p.m. | UPEI Main Building Faculty Lounge


October 18, 2016 | 7 p.m. | UPEI Main Building Faculty Lounge, UPEI
Dr. Edward MacDonald presents Island Studies October Lecture:
The Romance of Prince Edward Island: A Tour Through the 1941 Visitors’ Guide

ed-back-cover-garden-pron_0001The Island Studies Lectures Series gets under way for a new season on Tuesday, October 18, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus. Kicking off the season is UPEI historian Edward MacDonald, who will present a public lecture, “The Romance of Prince Edward Island: A Tour Through the 1941 Visitors’ Guide.”

Along with fellow Islander Alan MacEachern of the University of Western Ontario, MacDonald has been working for many years on a history of Prince Edward Island tourism. In 1941, for special reasons, Prince Edward Island dressed itself up as “The England of Canada” in a bid to attract war-wary American tourists. One visitor saved the guide, adding their own comments in the margins. Six decades later that guide has come back to the Island. Its pictures, text, ads, and annotations provide a revealing glimpse into an industry that was still struggling to define itself.

Ed MacDonaldDr. Edward MacDonald teaches in the History Department at UPEI. His research focus is the social, cultural, and environmental history of Prince Edward Island. Along with Josh MacFadyen and Irene Novaczek, he is co-editor of Time and APlace: An Environmental History of Prince Edward Island, co-published by Island Studies Press and McGill-Queen’s University Press. The best known of his seven books is If You’re Stronghearted: Prince Edward Island in the 20th Century (October 2000).

Admission to the Lecture is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

Watch for details for another lecture about islands – near and far – November 15! For more information, please contact Laurie at iis@upei.ca or (902) 894-2881.


September 22, 2016 | Florence Simmons Performance Hall, Holland College, Charlottetown
Public Forum on Climate Change Adaptation and Islands 


Climate change affects Islanders each day, says expert, Dr. Catherine Potvin, CBC Radio, September 21, 2016

“We can be ambassadors of our own fate”: A call to action on climate change, says Hon. David MacDonald, CBC Radio, September 21, 2016

Public forum on climate change tonight at UPEI: The Guardian, September 22, 2016

UPEI’s UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability and the UPEI Climate Research Lab will co-host a public forum on climate change adaptations and islands. The forum begins at 7 pm on Thursday, September 22, in the Florence Simmons Performance Hall on the Prince of Wales Campus of Holland College. Information gathered at the forum will be become part of a statement delivered at the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change this November in Morocco and will inform public policy in local, national, and international jurisdictions.

“Despite being minor contributors to global climate change, many of the 600 million islanders of the world are seeing their way of life, and indeed the very existence of their islands, being threatened by human-induced global warming,” said Dr. Jim Randall, co-holder of the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability. “This public forum and the larger symposium is an opportunity to show how islands and islanders are being adaptive and resilient; and at the same time provide practical lessons to the rest of the world on how we should adapt to climate change.”

Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, co-holder of the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, will prime the forum by presenting a summary of a two-day international symposium on small island resilience to climate change. “Building Small Island Resilience to Global Climate Change: An International Symposium” brings together 15 people from around the world to discuss how residents of small islands and coastal jurisdictions can build on their strengths and resourcefulness to respond to the consequences of climate change. The focus is on four areas: food security, renewable energy, innovation, and cultural heritage. Also hosted by the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability and the UPEI Climate Research Lab, the symposium is funded in part by the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency (ACOA).

“The Government of Prince Edward Island is a proud sponsor of this international symposium that will provide a platform for participants to engage on the topic of climate change and small Islands. Small islands, like Prince Edward Island, do face unique challenges and we have an opportunity to be leaders in confronting these challenges by making proactive decisions on how we adapt to these new realities. As the Minister Responsible for the Environment, I wish all event organizers and participants a successful and engaging symposium and I look forward to hearing the outcomes of this week’s discussions,” said the Hon. Robert J. Mitchell, Minister of Communities, Land and Environment.

“Taking action to address climate change is an important part of building a strong and sustainable economy,” said Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). “That’s why the Government of Canada has made clean growth and climate change a priority under the Atlantic Growth Strategy. ACOA’s investment of $35,190 to support this conference is part of our commitment to encourage innovation and create jobs while at the same time protecting our environment.”

Symposium speakers include climate and island studies experts who will bring their unique knowledge and skills to the table. They come from Australia, Vanuatu, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Gotland, Montreal, Toronto, St. John’s, Tignish, Lennox Island, and Charlottetown. Together with an invited group of engaged audience participants, the symposium addresses the pressing issue of climate change and small islands in an action-oriented and policy-focused series of dialogues that will provide public policy lessons for other jurisdictions.

“The symposium provides a great opportunity for us to focus on climate change and adaptation in respect to islands. The forum gives the public an important venue to have their input added to this discussion,” said Dr. Adam Fenech, director of the UPEI Climate Research Lab, who will help present the first draft of the symposium statement to the forum. The moderator will then invite comments and suggestions from the audience.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, contact iis@upei.ca or call 902-894-2881 or 902-629-5798.

July 22, 2016
A Tribute to Long-time Friend of the Institute of Island Studies: Dr. George McRobie
by Harry Baglole

George McRobie 2010

Dr. George McRobie died in Charlottetown on Friday, July 2nd. The trajectory of his remarkable life took him from his birthplace of Moscow (1925), through his childhood in northern Scotland, his highly successful career in London and throughout the world, and finally here to Prince Edward Island, his half-time home since 2009. He was a man of great personal warmth and charm, much beloved by his many friends on the Island.

McRobie achieved fame through his close association with the British economist E.F. Schumacher and what could be called the “Small Is Beautiful” movement. They first met while Schumacher was Economic Advisor to the National Coal Board. For Schumacher, international attention came with the publication of Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered, in 1973. This seminal work has been named by the Times Literary Supplement as one of the 100 most influential books published since World War II.

As well as being a fine theorist, Schumacher was also a remarkable man of action, and in McRobie he found a willing and capable colleague. Together they were founders of the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) in 1966, a UK-based NGO specializing in creating small-scale technology for developing countries. In 2005, the ITDG changed its name to Practical Action, and today it claims that “every year we help over one million people out of poverty.”

Schumacher and McRobie both served stints as President of the Soil Association, the main British organization promoting the use of organic agriculture.

For rather obvious reasons, the book Small Is Beautiful found a ready audience in Prince Edward Island. In 1975, McRobie first visited the Island, where he spoke to the Legislative Assembly at the invitation of Premier Alex Campbell.

With Schumacher’s death in 1977, the mantle of leadership fell on the shoulders of McRobie. In 1981 he published his book Small Is Possible – a “factual account about who is doing what, where, to put into practice the ideas expressed in E. F. Schumacher’s SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL.” McRobie’s purview encompassed the whole world; and in the chapter on Canada, he lauded the Island’s Institute of Man and Resources as one of “the two most striking and imaginative programmes” he had encountered in our country.

In later years, McRobie’s ties to the Island were strengthened when he was invited back on several occasions, at the invitation of the Institute of Island Studies, as an advisor on worker co-operatives and sustainable agriculture. In 1989, he was awarded an Honorary Degree by UPEI.

Dr. McRobie also has a close association with the Sir Andrew Macphail Foundation. This began in 1990 when he was tasked by the Institute of Island Studies to write a report outlining a vision for the Homestead in the demonstration and promotion of sustainable farming and forestry. Since 2011, the Homestead has hosted an annual George McRobie Lecture on the subject of sustainable agriculture – and George attended all five of these. The guest speaker at the inaugural McRobie Lecture was Patrick Holden, founder and head of The Sustainable Food Trust, and a friend of McRobie’s during the years they worked together at the Soil Association.

On a more personal note, George’s residency on the Island in recent years is entirely due to the sustainable devotion of his wife Susanne Manovill, friends since he visited here in the 1980s. In 2009 George was a widower, and Susanne invited him to return for a visit. Since then, Susanne and George have been inseparable.

Harry Baglole of Bonshaw is a former Director of UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies.(PHOTO by Francoise Enguehard)

Two good friends of the Institute of Island Studies receive awards at Congress in Calgary!


Congratulations go out to Dr. Lisa Chilton and Dr. Edward MacDonald of UPEI’s history department, who were nationally recognized for excellence in research and service. READ MORE…


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