News and Updates

REMINDER:
As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease, Laurie, Jim, Marlene, Maggie, and Bren are doing a combination of working from home and coming into the office. Please don’t hesitate to contact us by e-mail if you’d like set up an appointment. 
Hope everyone stays safe and healthy during this challenging time. We are confident that Islander resilience will shine!
Best wishes,
Laurie, Jim, Marlene, Maggie, and Bren


The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Islands Economic Global Forum Annual Report on Global Islands 2019 is now online

The Annual Report on Global Islands 2019, published by Island Studies Press in partnership with the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province, was published in July 2020 and will be launched at an upcoming virtual event (to be announced). Executive Editor-in-Chief is Dr. James Randall, working with Editor Dr. Laurie Brinklow and Designer Joan Sinclair.

READ MORE…


Insular knowledge: Building a community of islands through knowledge mobilization

In January, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO put out a call to Canada’s network of 27 UNESCO Chairs to contribute to a series of thought papers on Knowledge Mobilization (KMb). Jim Randall submitted a Letter of Intent to look at KMb specifically as it relates to islands, and we were one of six submissions selected. Working to a tight deadline, we carried out focus groups in the Atlantic region, the central Great Lakes region, and Canada’s west coast asking questions about the ways and means island groups and organizations get research results and other information out to the general public. We wanted to find out if KMb on islands is different on islands. We found that, yes, it is, and came up with some recommendations to address the gaps.

The paper underwent a rigorous peer review process, with input from over 50 individuals from Canada and around the globe, and the project is now complete. The process embodies the spirit of knowledge mobilization. A huge thank you goes out to those islanders who contributed to the paper.

Here is a link to the PDF.

ABSTRACT
Insular knowledge: Building a community of islands through knowledge mobilization
by James Randall, Laurie Brinklow, and Marlene Chapman

The premise of this paper is that islands are an integral part of Canadian geography, history and identity, and that knowledge mobilization (KMb) on islands is too often overlooked or misunderstood. The paper provides an overview of the kinds, characteristics, flows and challenges associated with knowledge creation and dissemination on islands in and close to Canada. In so doing, it offers insights intended to spark a dialogue on how knowledge mobilization on islands assists us in addressing the major challenges facing our islands and society in general. Findings suggest that much knowledge on and about islands is informal and undervalued, but critical to maintaining viable island communities. This informal, situational knowledge is often combined with formal, theoretical knowledge to build resilience in ways that may be applied more broadly across different contexts. The paper recommends that more effort must take place to expand and strengthen island networks to share resources and stories, and that policies and programs need to be filtered through an island lens before being adopted in island communities.


Island responses to COVID-19: An update

Over the past several weeks, friends at the University of Strathclyde have been gathering information from around the world about how islands have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Fransceso Sindico, Co-Director of the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, along with James Ellsmoor from Island Innovation and several colleagues circulated a questionnaire as widely as possible.

We are pleased to share the latest version of the data collated by SCELG and Island Innovation on Islands and Covid-19, as well as a user-friendly guide to how islands around the world are dealing with the pandemic.

Organizers opened the survey on 22 March and after more than two months decided that it is now time to close the survey and start thinking of how to move ahead. Dr. Francesco Sindico would like l to warmly thank all the people (130 and counting) who contributed to the survey (in many cases more than once by submitting timely updates) through email or online. It has been incredible to see how islanders around the world have generously shared their story about how COVID-19 was being dealt with on islands. Dr. Sindico can confirm that some island-related policy makers and stakeholders have been looking at and using the data to inform their decisions throughout the pandemic making the survey and the information therein a useful tool in these difficult times.

Dr. Sindico can be reached here: francesco.sindico@strath.ac.uk


UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability renewed

The Institute of Island Studies is thrilled to announce that the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability has been renewed for another four years, until July 13, 2024.

Established in July 2016, the Chair was intended to expand academic and research programs on islands at home and around the world. To that end, over the past four years it has hosted conferences on small island governance and islands and climate change; launched a 12-island research project looking at governance and sustainability; produced several publications, including PEI Vital Signs 2019, in partnership with the Community Foundation of PEI, and Global Islands Report, in collaboration with the Foreign Affairs Office of the Government of Hainan Island, China; and many other activities.

The chair, originally held by Dr. Jim Randall (UPEI) and Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino (U of Malta), is one of 700 UNESCO chairs around the world and is the first in Atlantic Canada. With the stepping down of Godfrey, the renewed chair will continue to be held by Jim at UPEI.

The principal long-term mission of the Chair of Island Studies and Sustainability is to contribute to the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS)—a UNESCO priority since the articulation of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000—and to extend this priority to Subnational Island Jurisdictions (SNIJs). The chair proposes to harness the insights and experience of island studies scholars, students, governments, and organizations worldwide.

Writes Peter Wells, Section Chief for Higher Education at UNESCO in Paris, “I am confident that the UNESO Chair will continue to work closely with UNESCO’s Secretariat and other partners to promote island studies and sustainability, and to contribute to the UNESCO SIDS Action Plan and to the Mid Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway, through training, research, networking, international scholarships, conferences and publications. The Chair is invited to further develop the South-South cooperation in all its areas of work.”

For more information, please contact Dr. Jim Randall, UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability: jarandall@upei.ca.


Vital Signs report launched on Prince Edward Island

A new report from the Community Foundation of PEI (CFPEI) and UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies provides a snapshot of the quality of life and well-being on Prince Edward Island. 


Vital Signs brings together publicly available research data, the analysis of subject experts, and focus group feedback from private, public, and not-for-profit sectors from different regions of the Island. The result is an easy-to-digest, comprehensive look at a wide range of interconnected topics from health to housing to education and the environment.

READ MORE…


Download a copy of the report: ENGLISH (PDF) EN FRANCAIS (PDF)


2nd International Conference on Island Economies
Island Tourism

Haikou, Hainan
August 20-23, 2019

The 2nd International Conference on Island Economies took place on Hainan Island, August 20-23, 2019, co-sponsored by the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province, the Institute of Island Studies, and the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability. The conference featured five international speakers from Australia, the US, Japan, Italy, and Canada; and ten speakers from China. Dr. Jim Randall from University of Prince Edward Island was one of the international speakers, with his closing address entitled “The Future of Island Tourism Research and Practice.” Other sessions focused on “How to Ensure International Tourism Benefits Islanders,” “What Should Governments Do (and Not Do) to Support Island Tourism,” “Marketing and Branding Island Tourist Destinations,” and “Making International Island Tourism Sustainable.”


UNESCO Co-chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, Dr. Jim Randall, with participants from the 2nd International Conference on Island Economies: Island Tourism.


The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Islands Economic Global Forum Annual Report on Global Islands 2018 is now online

The Annual Report on Global Islands 2018, published by Island Studies Press in partnership with the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province, was launched at the Boao Island Economic Cooperation Forum in April 2019. Executive Editor-in-Chief is Dr. James Randall, working with Editor Dr. Laurie Brinklow and Designer Joan Sinclair.

READ MORE…


Building Resilient Islands/Institutions for Growth and Sustainability:
The Prince Edward Island and Institute of Island Studies Experience
St. Kitts, February 14, 2019

 
L-r: Dr. Jim Randall, UNESCO Co-chair in Island Studies and Sustainability;
Mr. Daniel Arthurton, Adviser, Strategic Planning and Projects Department, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

On February 14, Dr. Jim Randall, Coordinator of the MA Island Studies program and UNESCO co-chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, gave a keynote address at the 3rd annual Growth and Resilience Dialogue on St. Kitts island. This one-day symposium, organized and sponsored by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), included the Prime Ministers or Finance Ministers from eight Caribbean island countries, as well as members of the official oppositions, youth, civic society members, and church representatives.

Jim spoke for 20 minutes on the topic of “Building Resilient Islands/Institutions for Growth and Sustainability: The Prince Edward Island and Institute of Island Studies Experience.” He then answered questions for an hour.

As Jim noted, “It is not often that you have an opportunity to address stakeholders from so many different groups. I commend the ECCB for hosting this event. A dialogue like this is one of the best ways to implement policy in a collaborative rather than an adversarial way.”

(Click here for a PDF of Dr. Randall’s presentation.)

 
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First “My Chair in 3 Minutes” features UPEI’s own
UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) launched its “My Chair in 3 Minutes” program of videos with the release of its first video today, featuring Drs. Godfrey Baldacchino and Jim Randall, co-holders of the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability.

The purpose of the video series is to highlight the Canadian UNESCO Chairs network and show how they support the implementation of UNESCO’s priorities.

WATCH THE VIDEO!

And be sure to check out CCUNESCO’s new website: in ENGLISH and EN FRANCAIS.

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UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability launches the Island Economies Video Series, featuring speakers from the 1st International Conference on Island Economies on Hainan Island, China, in November 2017.

Introducing the series is Dr. Jim Randall, one of the Co-chairs.

WATCH THE VIDEO

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The Island as a Carbon-Neutral Province?  Making the Case

Thursday, October 26, 2017 | 7-9 p.m. | MacKinnon Auditorium, Room 242 McDougall Hall, UPEI Campus | WATCH THE VIDEO | JIM RANDALL POWERPOINT |
BOB ASHLEY POWERPOINT

With so much in the news these days about monster hurricanes and other  unusually severe weather events, people are becoming more and more concerned about the long-term impact of climate change. Living on a small, low land-mass as we do, Islanders feel immediately vulnerable to sea-level rise. And so we ask ourselves what can be done about it; and also, how can we, on our own island, provide a model of positive action for elsewhere.

One possibility would be for us to make a concerted attempt to set an example for others – in Canada and beyond – by becoming Canada’s first carbon-neutral province.

How this might be done was the topic of a Public Symposium held at UPEI’s MacKinnon Auditorium, Room 242, McDougall Hall, on Thursday, October 26th, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

This event was sponsored by UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies, in conjunction with UPEI Research Services and the UPEI Climate Lab. The title of the Symposium was “Making the Case for Prince Edward Island to be Canada’s First Carbon-Neutral Province.”

The principal speaker was Dr. Catherine Potvin, a professor at McGill University and associate staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. In the wake of the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference on Confederation, Dr. Potvin was selected as one of 23 women visionaries for the future of Canada. She leads the group Sustainable Canada Dialogues, a voluntary initiative that mobilizes over 80 researchers from every province, with sustainability being at the heart of their research programs. The objective of Sustainable Canada Dialogues is to identify actions designed to have large, viable impacts to help Canadian governments at all levels to make thoughtful and ambitious commitments to greenhouse-gas emission reductions. Though the scale of the global challenge is enormous, more and more individuals, communities, industries and governments are stepping up to the task.

SONY DSC

Dr. Potvin was joined by Mr. Bob Ashley, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Summerside, which has implemented a number of initiatives, including generating its own electricity. His talk, “Summerside’s Renewable Energy Quest,” illustrated the critical value of a community-owned electric utility as an instrument of public energy policy. Other initiatives include storage for intermittent generation such as wind and solar, building a fleet of electric vehicles, implementing a “Living Lab” program, and a “smarter homes” initiative.

Dr. Jim Randall, the Chair of the Institute of Island Studies and UNESCO Co-chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, spoke about the experiences and challenges of other small islands of the world in their quest to achieve a version of “carbon-neutrality.” An economic and social geographer by training, Jim is a Professor in Island Studies and co-ordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies program.

The Symposium was chaired by Dr. Adam Fenech, Director of the UPEI Climate Lab.

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An Island Blue Economy: A Review and Critique of the Concept and Practice
Ningbo, China, November 13-14, 2018

UNESCO Co-chair in Island Studies and Sustainability Dr. Jim Randall was invited to present a keynote address at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Blue Economy Forum, November 13-14, 2018, in Ningbo, China. The theme of this 5th APEC Forum focused on “Local Blue Economy Practice: Policy and Approach,” which has gained prominence in recent years as a popular development strategy among island and coastal communities through its vision to achieve marine sustainable development and human well-being.

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UPEI hosts discussion with researchers from 12 islands on challenges, opportunities, and similarities
SSHRC-funded meetings to create research relationships and partnerships in field of island studies

Charlottetown, PEI (September 10, 2018) — UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies and the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability hosted a weekend of meetings with representatives and researchers from a dozen islands around the world. This unprecedented gathering of scholars in the field of Island Studies is made possible by a Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The project will build relationships between researchers and will fund up to twelve graduate students.

“The Institute of Island Studies and the UNESCO Chairs in Island Studies and Sustainability are to be commended for organizing this very important initiative, which will bring together representatives of small island states to develop strategies to address their unique issues regarding sustainability and sovereignty,” said Dr. Robert Gilmour, UPEI’s Vice-President Academic and Research.

Island jurisdictions are often viewed as vulnerable, poverty-stricken, and destitute, but research shows many of these islands are better described as innovative and entrepreneurial. This meeting brought together six representatives of small island states (Iceland, New Zealand, Mauritius, Palau, Cyprus, St. Lucia and Grenada) and six representatives from non-sovereign, sub-national island jurisdictions (Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, La Réunion, Lesbos, Guam and Tobago). These groups will compare experiences, to see whether statehood is a boon or hindrance when implementing sustainable practices in social-political, cultural-artistic, economic, and environmental areas.

“Take an island’s ability to respond to a natural crisis, such as a hurricane,” said Dr. James Randall, co-holder of the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability. “If that island is a sub-national jurisdiction, is it a benefit to know the larger government will be there to help them respond, or will an independent island state be better equipped to determine what is needed and implement that plan.”

The project will develop a set of measures of sustainability and sovereignty by undertaking household and focus group surveys using comparisons of six pairs of islands. The Institute of Island Studies and the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability will coordinate these activities, bringing together island researchers and solving issues using a local-to-global integrated approach.

From L to R: Godfrey Baldacchino (Malta), Pia Hansson (Iceland), Margaret Paterson (UPEI MAIS student), Kimberly Wishart Chu Foon (UPEI PhD Environmental Sciences student), John Telesford (Grenada), Ioannis Spilanis (Greece on video), Gerard Prinsen (New Zealand), Patrick Watson (Trinidad & Tobago), Rob Greenwood (Newfoundland), Laurie Brinklow (PEI), Robert Gilmour (VP Academic & Research, UPEI). Lots missing including the Principal Investigator Jim Randall (UPEI)

 

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and research training in the humanities and social sciences. By focusing on developing talent, generating insights and forging connections across campuses and communities, SSHRC strategically supports world-leading initiatives that reflect a commitment to ensuring a better future for Canada and the world.

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The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road
Islands Economic Cooperation Forum
ANNUAL REPORT ON GLOBAL ISLANDS 2017
now online

The Annual Report 2017 LR April, published by Island Studies Press in partnership with the Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Hainan Province, was launched at the Boao Forum for Asian Annual Conference April 8-11, 2018. Executive Editor-in-Chief is Dr. James Randall, working with Editor Dr. Laurie Brinklow and Designer Joan Sinclair. 

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Drs. Jim Randall and Godfrey Baldacchino attend Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference on Hainan Island, China, April 8-11, 2018.

Hainan Daily, April 9, 2018
Cooperation can help island economies cope with challenges, ChinaDaily.com, April 10, 2018

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The Island as a Carbon-Neutral Province?  Making the Case
Thursday, October 26, 2017 | 7-9 p.m. | MacKinnon Auditorium, Room 242 McDougall Hall, UPEI Campus | WATCH THE VIDEO | JIM RANDALL POWERPOINT |
BOB ASHLEY POWERPOINT

With so much in the news these days about monster hurricanes and other unusually severe weather events, people are becoming more and more concerned about the long-term impact of climate change. Living on a small, low land-mass as we do, Islanders feel immediately vulnerable to sea-level rise. And so we ask ourselves what can be done about it; and also, how can we, on our own island, provide a model of positive action for elsewhere.

One possibility would be for us to make a concerted attempt to set an example for others – in Canada and beyond – by becoming Canada’s first carbon-neutral province.

How this might be done was the topic of a Public Symposium held at UPEI’s MacKinnon Auditorium, Room 242, McDougall Hall, on Thursday, October 26th, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

This event was sponsored by UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies, in conjunction with UPEI Research Services and the UPEI Climate Lab. The title of the Symposium was “Making the Case for Prince Edward Island to be Canada’s First Carbon-Neutral Province.”

The principal speaker was Dr. Catherine Potvin, a professor at McGill University and associate staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. In the wake of the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference on Confederation, Dr. Potvin was selected as one of 23 women visionaries for the future of Canada. She leads the group Sustainable Canada Dialogues, a voluntary initiative that mobilizes over 80 researchers from every province, with sustainability being at the heart of their research programs. The objective of Sustainable Canada Dialogues is to identify actions designed to have large, viable impacts to help Canadian governments at all levels to make thoughtful and ambitious commitments to greenhouse-gas emission reductions. Though the scale of the global challenge is enormous, more and more individuals, communities, industries and governments are stepping up to the task.

Dr. Potvin was joined by Mr. Bob Ashley, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Summerside, which has implemented a number of initiatives, including generating its own electricity. His talk, “Summerside’s Renewable Energy Quest,” illustrated the critical value of a community-owned electric utility as an instrument of public energy policy. Other initiatives include storage for intermittent generation such as wind and solar, building a fleet of electric vehicles, implementing a “Living Lab” program, and a “smarter homes” initiative.

Dr. Jim Randall, the Chair of the Institute of Island Studies and UNESCO Co-chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, spoke about the experiences and challenges of other small islands of the world in their quest to achieve a version of “carbon-neutrality.” An economic and social geographer by training, Jim is a Professor in Island Studies and co-ordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies program.

The Symposium was chaired by Dr. Adam Fenech, Director of the UPEI Climate Lab.

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Changing Island Economies
KEYNOTE ADDRESS by Dr. James Randall
Pingtan (China) International Forum on Island Conservation and Development
September 23, 2017
PDF VERSION | ACCOMPANYING POWERPOINT PRESENTATION

Thanks to the organizing committee for inviting me to this important event and for the hard work they have undertaken to organize this conference. One of the strengths of events such as this is that it allows people from diverse backgrounds, including academia, government and business, to discuss the same issues from very different points of view. Also, I’m an economic geographer by training and have been an island studies professor for the past five years. Therefore, I have a passion for places and an appreciation of the need to take an interdisciplinary approach to address issues.

In my opening remarks I’d like to focus on three main areas:

  • First, to discuss the prevailing and competing narratives or stories of islands. How others see islands and how islanders see themselves
  • Second, I’ll speak to some of the characteristics that might lead to the advantages and challenges facing islands in our current global economy.
  • Finally, I’ll provide a set of recommendations on economic development on islands, where and why they might flourish and serve as lessons for other islands and coastal regions.

All of this is based on my understanding of the current research on islands and my growing appreciation of what it means to be an islander.        READ MORE

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Building Small Island Resilience to Global Climate Change:

An International Symposium and Public Forum
September 20-23, 2016 | Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

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L-R: Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability; Hon. David MacDonald; Dr. Catherine Potvin, Canada Research Chair on Climate Change Mitigation and Tropical Forests: Science for Empowerment, McGill University; Hon. Wade MacLauchlan, Premier of Prince Edward Island; and Dr. Adam Fenech, Director, Climate Lab, UPEI

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) and the province of Prince Edward Island.

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“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.

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“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 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.

 

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“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 902-894-2881.

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 announces UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability
(WATCH THE VIDEO)

Charlottetown, PEI (July 22, 2016)—Dr. Robert Gilmour, Vice-President Academic and Research at the University of Prince Edward Island, today announced a new UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability. The chair will be co-held by Dr. James Randall, a geographer and coordinator of UPEI’s Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program, and Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, a professor of sociology at the University of Malta and an Island Studies teaching fellow at the University of Prince Edward Island.

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“The UNESCO Chair is a singular achievement for the university, particularly for the program in Island Studies,” said Dr. Robert Gilmour. “The chair formalizes and reinforces the combined efforts of our former Canada Research Chair, Dr. Baldacchino, and the current coordinator of UPEI’s MAIS program, Dr. Randall, and, as such, significantly enhances the international impact of one of the university’s signature initiatives.”

Jim and Godfrey

The UNESCO Chair in Island Studies will work to establish and expand academic and research programmes on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Sub-National Island Jurisdictions (SNIJs). It will operate from the premise that SIDS and SNIJs are innovative, entrepreneurial, and connected, not vulnerable, lacking, and isolated. The chair is one of 700 UNESCO chairs around the world and is the first in Atlantic Canada.

“The relevance of islands to our world at the moment is unparalleled. From political turmoil in the South China Sea, to the impacts of climate change, to refugee movements through Europe, to the role of offshore financial centres, stories about islands and islanders seem to be in the news every day,” said Dr. James Randall. “This Chair brings together the people and the organizations doing island studies research and learning in order to help us solve some of the great challenges facing our world.”

The principal long-term mission of the Chair of Island Studies and Sustainability is to contribute to the sustainable development of SIDS—a UNESCO priority since the articulation of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000—and to extend this priority to SNIJs. The chair proposes to harness the insights and experience of island studies scholars, students, governments, and organizations worldwide, many of which the co-chair-holders, the Institute of Island Studies, and partners and supporters have already established.

“It is a great privilege to be the co-holder of the UNESCO Chair Program at UPEI along with my colleague Dr. Jim Randall,” said Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino. “UPEI has made huge investments in island studies over almost four decades and has developed a world class and world renowned reputation and expertise as a result. Most island studies roads lead to, or pass through, Charlottetown; the UNESCO Chair is a natural transition which now allows us to take the game to the next level, whether in public engagement, cutting edge scholarship, or research funding.”

“It is most edifying to see the strong relationship between the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of Malta cemented with this prestigious UNESCO Chair appointment—a first for both our institutions,” said Professor Alfred J. Vella, Rector of the University of Malta, in Malta. “In this way, our respective expertise in the study of islands and small jurisdictions is better recognized. I look forward to an even stronger island studies program, driven by the competitive advantage that our two institutions enjoy in this field.”

This chair is created through the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, which has promoted international inter-university cooperation and networking since 1992 to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. The programme supports the establishment of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in key priority areas related to UNESCO’s fields of competence–i.e. in education, the natural and social sciences, culture, and communication.


CBC NEWS COVERAGE July 22, 2016

MALTA INDEPENDENT July 28, 2016

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN August 12, 2016

MALTA INDEPENDENT August 23, 2016


NEWS RELEASE
July 26, 2016

MINISTER CONGRATULATES UPEI ON UNESCO CHAIR IN ISLAND STUDIES AND SUSTAINABILITY

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI — Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Richard Brown extended congratulations to the University of Prince Edward Island who recently announced the new UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability. The position will be co-held by Dr. James Randall, UPEI; and Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, University of Malta. With 700 Chairs around the world, this UNESCO Chair is the first in Atlantic Canada, and the only one east of Quebec.

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“It was an honour to take part in the celebration last week to recognize UPEI and its UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability,” said Minister Brown. “Dr. Randall and Dr. Baldacchino are top Island Studies scholars and I am confident that their research will be beneficial to help us better understand small island societies and their resiliency.”

Dr. Randall and Dr. Baldacchino will work as co-chairs to bring 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 will include: sustainable development; climate change adaptation; governance; culture; outmigration; and educating our youth and our workforce.

“On behalf of the Government of Prince Edward Island, I’d like to congratulate UPEI on this latest achievement. UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies provides great work and invaluable research to our Island and other small islands around the world. I look forward to their research and working with the Institute to explore ways in which Prince Edward Island can reach our population goal of 150,000 by 2017.”

The Island Studies and Sustainability Chair, led by the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of Malta, and supported by various other universities and organizations, works to establish and expand academic and research programs on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Sub-National Island Jurisdictions (SNIJs).


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