Harry Baglole Memorial Public Symposium in Island Studies


As part of its role as an “honest broker,” the Institute of Island Studies hosts one to three public symposia per year. These symposia are an opportunity for stakeholders on all sides of an issue to come to the table to discuss items of public policy importance.

In 2018, the Symposium series was renamed after Harry Baglole, the Institute of Island Studies’ first Director, who passed away in May 2018. Harry was the architect of many Public Symposia over the years, born out of his passionate vision for strong, Prince Edward Island-made, public policy frameworks. 


Measuring Quality of Life on Prince Edward Island

Keynote Speaker:
Gwen Colman, Co-founder, Genuine Progress Index (GPI) Atlantic

Dr. Jim Randall & Wendy MacDonald

Gwen Colman, co-founder of Genuine Progress Index (GPI) Atlantic, discussed GPI and the elements for creating successful community partnerships to measure wellbeing and their resultant impact. She was joined by panelists Dr. Jim Randall and Wendy MacDonald, who addressed the relevance of GPIs to the health and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.

Making the Case for Prince Edward Island to be Canada’s First Carbon-Neutral Province

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Catherine Potvin, McGill University

Bob Ashley (CAO, City of Summerside)
Dr. Jim Randall (UPEI)

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?

MAY 2017
Tourism, Place and Identity: Rural Tourism in Iceland and Prince Edward Island

Keynote Speaker:
Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir, Tourism Research Centre, Akureyri, Iceland.
Dr. Ed MacDonald (History Dept., UPEI)
Bill Kendrick (Co-Founder, Experience PEI)
Ann Worth (Executive Director, Meetings and Conventions PEI)

In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of tourists visiting Iceland, so that tourism density there now rivals that of Prince Edward Island. The nature of the tourism industry is broadly similar in both islands – generally seasonal, with a heavy stress on cultural and environmental resources.  Also, in both islands there has been a concerted effort by policy-makers to utilize tourism as a community-development tool for the more rural areas.  This has met with mixed success – and has raised a whole new set of issues. There is benefit for both islands in sharing experiences, insights, and possible solutions.

Sustainable Agriculture and the Island’s Food System

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Mark Lapping (Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine)
Barry Cudmore (Farmer)
Mark Bernard (Farmer)
Dr. Colleen Walton (Family and Nutritional Sciences, UPEI)

“To most people,” says Dr. Lapping, keynote speaker at a public symposium on Sustainable Agriculture and the Island’s Food System, “food is about growing and consuming food.  But a food system,” he continues, “is a large set of processes and it is critical to take a wider, systems perspective. Only then might we have a more robust understanding of the ways by which a sustainable agriculture can become part of a larger process of change toward a more nutritious and just life for individuals, families and communities.”

Climate Change Adaptations and Islands: Public Forum

Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino
Dr. Adam Fenech
Dr. Jim Randall

UPEI’s UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability and the UPEI Climate Research Lab co-hosted a public forum on climate change adaptations and islands on September 26, 2016. Held in tandem with the Building Small Island Resilience to Global Climate Change Symposium, which provided an opportunity to focus on climate change and adaptation in respect to islands, this forum gave the public an important venue to have their input added to the discussion.

The Geography of Local Governance

Senator Diane Griffin
Dr. Ryan Gibson
Dr. Mike van den Huevel
Ms. Jeannita Bernard

The reform of local government on the Island has been much discussed in recent years, especially since the release of the 2009 Thompson Report of the Commission on Land and Local Governance. At that time, the Island had 75 incorporated municipalities – many of them with just a few hundred people – and 70% of the province’s territory had no local government at all. The situation remains much the same today.

Island Mobility, Migration, and Population Issues

Dr. Jim Randall
Katie Mazer
Tony Wallbank

Population change has always been at the core of the development of small islands – and it is no different on Prince Edward Island. Every day the public media deliver news about some aspect of population: youth outmigration, rural depopulation, an aging workforce, temporary foreign workers, refugees, wealthy immigrant investors…
This Public Symposium provided an opportunity for the public to hear about and contribute to the debate on several of the salient population issues that are crucial to the future of Prince Edward Island.

Island Land Use Policy at an Impasse?

Ian Petrie
Jean-Paul Arsenault

The past and present state of Island land use policy was the subject of this Public Symposium. Ian Petrie addressed the topic “Why Farmers Fight Regulations” and posed the question, is there a way out of this impasse? Jean-Paul Arsenault’s talk, entitled “Factors Affecting Land Use Decisions: What Were They Thinking?”, addressed the question, would stricter controls on land use be good for Prince Edward Island, or is the status quo the better option?

MAY 2014
Island Water Futures: Assessing the Science

Dr. Ryan O’Connor
Dr. Cathy Ryan
Dr. Michael van den Heuvel

The future of the Island’s water supply was the subject of a public symposium at the University of Prince Edward Island. In light of recent concern about increased pressure on our groundwater resources by urban, industrial, and agricultural use, this event was a timely one.


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[Press Release] COVID-19 Island Insights for Prince Edward Island now available

For Immediate Release
Charlottetown, PEI (April 6, 2021) —

COVID-19 Island Insights for Prince Edward Island now available

The COVID-19 Island Insights Series entry for Prince Edward Island is now available online. The series aims to bring together critical assessments of how specific islands around the world have performed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the extent to which their recovery plans are able to promote long term resilience and sustainability.

Prince Edward Island is one of twenty-five islands around the world participating in this project. Like many islands, PEI has been able to reduce the spread of the virus better than many mainland states and jurisdictions. The international group of researchers behind the project hope it can be a tool for policy makers and island stakeholders. 

The Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island is a partner in this collaboration, which recently released papers focusing on COVID-19 responses in PEINewfoundland and Labrador, and Iceland. The COVID-19 Island Insights Series provides understanding grounded in local knowledge and has been released in sets of two or three periodically since November 2020, with a total of seventeen Island Insights now available online.

“While the entire series will not be complete and published until May, we can already see patterns emerging that we believe could help inform island policy makers here and elsewhere,” said Dr. Jim Randall, the project lead at UPEI. “When islands have the autonomy to craft their own responses, when they have the capacity to limit access, and when their residents are conscientious, they have been more successful in preventing the spread of the virus.” 

In May 2021, the Island Insights project team will be hosting online workshops where policy makers and researchers will come together to identify key lessons. The findings will be shared at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), taking place November 1–12 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

The COVID-19 Island Insights Series is an initiative led by the Institute of Island Studies at UPEI and Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance (SCELG) at Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde, in collaboration with Island Innovation, a social enterprise which seeks to drive sustainable change across islands and rural areas around the world. 

To read the Prince Edward Island COVID-19 Island Insights paper, and the others in the series, visit islandstudies.com/island-insights-series.

Media contact:
Dave Atkinson, UPEI
(902) 620-5117, datkinson@upei.ca

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