University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI)
As a small university of 4,500 students, UPEI has strategically chosen to be a global leader in island studies. The Institute of Island Studies (IIS) was created in 1985 with a mandate to encourage training, scholarship, and community partnership development, emphasizing applied public policy development. The thesis-based Master of Arts in Island Studies programme, started in 2003 and coordinated by one of the co-Chair-holders (Dr. Jim Randall), was the first of its kind in the world. There are currently 40 students enrolled in this programme. International exchange of research outcomes on island issues has been a strength of the IIS, including hosting numerous island studies scholars and events, including the North Atlantic Forum (1998), the International Small Islands Studies Association (ISISA) “Islands of the World” conference (2002), the 3rd Annual International Conference on Small Island Cultures (SICRI) (2007), the RETI (Réseau d’Excellence des Territoires Insulaires) “Livable Islands: Culture, Politics, Economy and Environment” conference (2014), “Climate Change in Culture” conference (2015), and the 10th North Atlantic Forum and 27th Canadian Rural Revitalization conference, “Building Communities: Innovation, Culture, and Governance in Place” (2015).
The appointment of Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino as a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Island Studies (2003-2013) was further evidence of the capacity and commitment of UPEI in this area.
University of Malta
The University of Malta has an enduring interest in the study of islands and small states – effectively combining the study of islands with that of SIDS – mainly through the Islands and Small States Institute (ISSI) in existence since the late 1980s. Its leadership in this field is recognised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations SIDS Network, both of whom have organised countless islands and small states related events and conferences in Malta through the University. The University of Malta is the oldest university in the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom with 12,000 students and a significant number of academics who are sensitive to small state issues, and in relation to various fields (e.g., Lino Briguglio in economics, Ronald Sultana in counselling and examination services, Peter Mayo in adult education). These scholars include Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, the former CRC and co-holder of this UNESCO Chair. Dr. Baldacchino is also a member of the ISSI Board and contributes to its teaching effort. The UofMalta has recently partnered with the U. of the Aegean and the U. Gran Canaria on an ERASMUS PLUS proposal to establish a joint Master’s programme in Islands and Sustainable Development.
The University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, will serve as a hub to build North-South-South relationships with other island jurisdictions in the Asia/Pacific region and the University of the West Indies will serve in a similar capacity in the Caribbean region. Both the International Small Island Studies Association (ISISA) and Réseau d’Excellence des Territoires Insulaires (RETI) will serve as conduits to link South-South-North researchers and students.