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.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017 | 7 p.m. | UPEI Main Building Faculty Lounge
Island Studies March Lecture: “Scale and Governance” on Small Islands
with Dr. Peter Buker

The March Island Studies Lecture is Tuesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus, featuring Dr. Peter Buker speaking about scale and governance, including its effects on small islands such as Prince Edward Island.

The relation between a political jurisdiction’s scale and how well (or poorly) its government performs is seldom addressed in scholarly literature or in practice. However, scale does affect governance. This lecture addresses the question: How do size factors of population and geography relate to accountability and responsibility, to efficiency and effectiveness? Citing political theory, public administration, economics, and social “small-scale” literature, and taking into account technological advances, Dr. Buker will focus on how scale applies to governance. The implications, especially for small island jurisdictions such as Prince Edward Island, are many. For example, the case for and against Maritime Union can be explored by looking at the tension between small governing systems supporting reciprocal relations between their citizens and their government and large governing systems supporting one-way command relations.

Peter Buker 2016


Dr. Peter Buker is Chair of General Studies at Yorkville University. He has a widely varied academic background in economics, politics, and community economic development, and considers scale to be one of the most important single factors affecting our experience as citizens.


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

See below for details for another lecture about the island of Saint Helena April 18! For more information, please contact Laurie at iis@upei.ca or (902) 894-2881.

Monday, April 10, 2017 | 7 p.m. | UPEI Main Building Faculty Lounge
Island Studies Special Presentation
Electoral Boundaries Process on Bermuda
featuring PEI’s Chief Justice David Jenkins

The timing couldn’t be better. In keeping with one of the Institute’s goals to see Prince Edward Island through the lens of other islands, PEI’s Chief Justice David Jenkins will share with Prince Edward Islanders what he’s learned as a member of Bermuda’s Constituency Boundaries Commission. He will deliver a lecture Monday, April 10, at 7 p.m., in the UPEI Main Building Faculty Lounge. All are welcome.

While Prince Edward Island goes through the process of updating its electoral boundaries, over the past several months Justice Jenkins has been on hand as Bermuda underwent a similar process. This is his second stint: in 2009 he was invited to do the same thing based on the jurisdictional similarities between PEI and Bermuda – an island comprised of 36 electoral districts and a population of approximately 65,000 people. Justice Jenkins had also chaired the federal boundaries commission in 2003.

A statement released by Secretary Tenia Woolridge, on behalf of Bermuda’s Commission, described the need for the review. “The Constitution requires that, from time to time, the Commission review the constituency boundaries and report thereon to the House. In deciding whether or not to recommend any changes in the boundaries, the Commission has to ensure that the constituencies contain, as far as reasonably practicable, equal numbers of persons qualified to be registered as electors. This is to achieve equality of votes. The Commission has to consider the constitutionally prescribed factors; as geographical features, natural boundaries and contiguity of constituencies.”

The Honourable Gerard Mitchell, who is chairing Prince Edward Island’s Electoral Boundaries Commission, will be on hand to provide the PEI context of reviewing its 27 electoral districts, including the boundaries and the names.

The Honourable David H. Jenkins is the Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island. He is an Islander! After attending Charlottetown schools and Prince of Wales College, he graduated from Dalhousie University with  his BCom in 1970 and LLB in 1973. He practiced law in Charlottetown with Scales Jenkins and McQuaid, which became Stewart McKelvey, in a general practice focused on business, administrative law, labour and employment and related litigation. He was appointed as Queens Counsel in 1986, has been President of the Law Society, and has served on national legal organizations including Federation of Law Societies of Canada President (1986), and as Secretary of the Canadian Bar Insurance Association until his appointment as a judge.

He sat as a trial judge in the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island from 1993 to 2008, when he was appointed as Chief Justice of the province and of the Court of Appeal.  He has served nationally as president of the Judges’ Counselling Program, the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association, and is currently a member of the Canadian Judicial Council.

David has always been involved in the Island and Charlottetown community.  He is a Charter member of the Rotary Club of Hillsborough, and a Governor of the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

His involvement as the judicial member of the Bermuda Constituency Boundaries Commission in 2009 and again in 2016 was a volunteer in response to an invitation from the Governor of Bermuda pursuant to the Bermuda Constitution.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 | 7 p.m. | UPEI Main Building Faculty Lounge
Island Studies April Lecture: Saint Helena: An island in flux
with Owen Jennings

The April Island Studies Lecture is Tuesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus, featuring Master of Arts in Island Studies student Owen Jennings speaking about Saint Helena: An island in flux.

The allure of islands relies on some often inaccurate assumptions. These imaginary islands are small, remote, and, more often than not, tropical. Where most islands fall well short of that imagined island, the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena reaches towards it. Over the past decade this island has been gifted a new connection to the world: an airport. While its opening for commercial traffic is still delayed, this will, it is anticipated, reduce the travel time to South Africa from five days down to a few hours. The Saints, as the islanders call themselves, have long been caught between their home’s isolation and many connections to the outside world, and soon they will be able to travel in a way that most similar island communities take for granted. This lecture considers the experience of travelling to and being a researcher on Saint Helena, and what being a Saint might mean as the island’s connection to the rest of the world changes dramatically.

Owen Jennings is a Master of Arts in Island Studies student at UPEI. He is studying remoteness and access on the island of Saint Helena, and, last November, had the opportunity to travel to Saint Helena to do his field research. Before coming to PEI, he studied politics for his undergraduate degree in the UK.


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

Watch for details for another lecture about islands – near and far – May 16! For more information, please contact Laurie at iis@upei.ca or (902) 894-2881.

Ed MacDonald receives Award of Honour

Congratulations to Ed MacDonald, associate professor of History at UPEI, who was presented with the Award of Honour at this year’s PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation awards, held February 21 at Beaconsfield Carriage House.

Ed Award of Honor PEIMHFThe Award of Honour recognizes outstanding service and continued contribution to the heritage activities of Prince Edward Island. Ed MacDonald has become the “go-to historical guy” on PEI for his wide-ranging knowledge of Island history, and his generosity in sharing it through his teaching at UPEI, his participation in public events which mark our Island history, and his encouragement of many others to research, write, and publish historical articles or manuscripts on Prince Edward Island.

MacDonald was one of three editors of Time and a Place, An Environmental History of Prince Edward Island, which received a Heritage Activity award for 2016 at the awards evening.

Ed MacDonald has written other titles of particular historical value to PEI:  If You’re Stronghearted: PEI in the Twentieth Century (2000), and he was co-author of The Landscapes of Confederation (2010).

Here he accepts his award from Hon. Frank Lewis, Lt. Gov. of PEI.


Time and a Place wins Award for Heritage Activity

T+P Heritage Activity award


PEI’s new environmental history, Time and a Place was honoured recently with a Heritage Activity award by the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation.



Congratulations to Irene Novaczek, left, and Ed MacDonald, centre, two of the book’s three editors as they receive their certificates from Hon. Frank Lewis, Lt. Gov. of Prince Edward Island. The final editor is Josh MacFadyen.

Time and a Place is the first-ever environmental history of any province in Canada, and was co-published in 2016 by Island Studies Press and McGill-Queens University Press. It is available in print by clicking here.

“New London” wins Publication of the Year Award

Cousins Publication of the YearCongratulations to John Cousins, author of New London: The Lost Dream, for winning the Publication of the Year Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation.

This prestigious award was presented at the PEI MHF’s annual awards night, held February 21 in Charlottetown. Author John Cousins, left, accepts his award from Hon. Frank Lewis, Lt. Gov. of PEI.

New London: The Lost Dream tells the story of the rise and fall of the Quaker settlement which existed on PEI’s North Shore from 1773 to 1795. It is available as both a print and digital book, by clicking here.


IIS Research Associate Dr. Tiber Falzett wins award for Heritage Activity

Tiber Heritage Activity award


Congratulations to Dr. Tiber Falzett, an Institute of Island Studies Research Associate, for taking home a Heritage Activity Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation on February 21.

Dr. Falzett was recognized for the work he has done celebrating the legacy and encouraging renewal of the Scottish Gaelic language on Prince Edward Island.

Here he accepts his award from accepts his award from Hon. Frank Lewis, Lt. Gov. of PEI.


November 4, 2016
A Tribute to George McRobie by Practical Action, UK

George McRobie 2010On November 4, 2016, Practical Action, a UK-based NGO founded by E.F. Schumacher 50 years ago, held a celebration of the life and work of one of its founders George McRobie, a close associate of E F. Schumacher and chairman from 1977 to 1983. Family and friends gathered at St Andrew, Holborn, along with many former Practical Action colleagues, to remember a man who was crucial to the development of the organisation over many decades. Download a slideshow of images from the event or listen to the tributes, including one from his wife, Susanne Manovill, who made generous mention of the Institute of Island Studies. MORE

October 27, 2016
CONGRATULATIONS to Diane Griffin, Institute of Island Studies Advisory Council Member, who has been appointed to the Senate of Canada!


Diane has been a long-time supporter of the Institute, having served on its Advisory Board and as Chair of many of our Public Forums over the years. We applaud her appointment wholeheartedly.

Diane will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Red Chamber – along with her passion for all things Prince Edward Island.





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 2, 2016. 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. READ MORE

Two good friends of the Institute of Island Studies receive awards at the 2016 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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