The UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability works to establish and expand academic and research programmes on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Sub-National Island Jurisdictions (SNIJs). It operates from the premise that SIDS and SNIJs are innovative, entrepreneurial, and connected, as opposed to vulnerable, lacking, and isolated.

The Chair brings together academics, policy-makers, community organizations, and practitioners to look at best practices from small island development and other sub-national jurisdictions, like PEI, from around the world. Their research areas include: sustainable development; climate change adaptation; governance; culture; outmigration; and educating our youth and our workforce.

The Chair is one of more than 700 UNESCO chairs around the world and is the first in Atlantic Canada, and was created through the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, which promotes international inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. The programme supports the establishment of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN networks in areas such as education, the natural and social sciences, culture, and communication.



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NEWS: Dr. Jean Mitchell named UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability

Posted on January 20, 2022 at 1:08 pm by Institute of Island Studies

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (January 20, 2022) —

Dr. Katherine Gottschall-Pass, interim vice-president academic and research at UPEI, has announced the appointment of Dr. Jean Mitchell as the next UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability at the University. Dr. Mitchell is an associate professor of anthropology at UPEI with extensive research and project experience in Indonesia, India, and the South Pacific nations of Kiribati, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. In the role as UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, Dr. Mitchell will take a broad perspective on small islands’ sustainability across the intersecting socio-economic, cultural, aesthetic, and environmental domains. Among other things, she will serve as an effective conduit for transferring innovative ideas; develop connections and collaborations; and contribute to research on small islands and the training of the next generation of island studies scholars and practitioners. The long-term mission of the UNESCO Chair at UPEI is to contribute to achieving the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This has been a UNESCO priority since the articulation of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000. This priority was also extended to Sub-National Island Jurisdictions. The UNESCO chair is hosted by the Institute of Island Studies (IIS). Established in 1985, the IIS is a research and public policy institute based at the University of Prince Edward Island focusing on the culture, environment, and economy of small islands around the world, with emphasis on Prince Edward Island. Drs. Jim Randall and Godfrey Baldacchino were named co-chairs in 2016, and Dr. Randall took on the role of sole chair until his retirement in 2021. Details on the UNESCO Chair’s work to date can be found at

Media contact:
Anna MacDonald
Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications, University of Prince Edward Island | (902)-566-0949

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