Harry Baglole Memorial Public Symposium in Island Studies

HARRY BAGLOLE MEMORIAL PUBLIC SYMPOSIA 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. 


PAST SYMPOSIA

NOVEMBER 2018
Measuring Quality of Life on Prince Edward Island

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

Panelists:
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.


OCTOBER 2017
Making the Case for Prince Edward Island to be Canada’s First Carbon-Neutral Province

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Catherine Potvin, McGill University

Panelists:
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.
Panelists:
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.


NOVEMBER 2016
Sustainable Agriculture and the Island’s Food System

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Mark Lapping (Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine)
Panelists:
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.”


SEPTEMBER 2016
Climate Change Adaptations and Islands: Public Forum

Speakers:
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.


FEBRUARY 2016
The Geography of Local Governance

Speakers:
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.


JANUARY 2016
Island Mobility, Migration, and Population Issues

Speakers:
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.


DECEMBER 2014
Island Land Use Policy at an Impasse?

Speakers:
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

Speakers:
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] Island Studies leader Dr. Jim Randall retires

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (July 6, 2021) —

After nine years as Coordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program and Chair of the Institute of Island Studies (IIS) Executive Committee, Jim Randall is retiring. 

Professor Emeritus Jim Randall

Trained as an economic and urban geographer, this native of Ontario moved with his family from the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George to Prince Edward Island in 2010 to take up the post of VP Academic at UPEI. In 2012 he became Coordinator of the MAIS program, teaching in the MAIS and Island Studies Minor programs and undertaking  a supervisory role for several Master’s students. When Jim arrived, the MAIS program had 28 thesis students and 21 graduates. Since 2018 when he introduced the work/study program, enrolment has more than doubled and MAIS alumni now total 50. More than half of incoming MAIS students are now international students. Students and staff agree that the current success of the program is due to Jim’s vision, persistence, and hard work.

As Chair of the IIS Executive Committee, Jim built on the Institute’s reputation as an “honest broker” that is recognized for doing research that contributes to evidence-based policymaking. This led to a collaboration with the Community Foundation of Prince Edward Island to research and produce the 2019 Vital Signs report that went into households across the Island, as well as various research contracts with the Government of PEI. The most recent, to undertake a four-year “Indicators of Well-being” study with the Government of PEI, is now under way with a province-wide survey set to launch in the fall.

Jim was named UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability co-chair (with Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino from the University of Malta) from 2016 to 2020 and became sole Chair in 2020. Throughout that time, he has demonstrated true leadership, securing several research contracts with funding from the Government of PEI, ACOA, the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CC UNESCO), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC), among others. His most recent project is curating a series of 24 COVID-19 Island Insights papers from islands around the globe in collaboration with the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance and Island Innovation. The papers form the basis of a policy initiative that will be presented at COP-26 in Glasgow in November.

The author of dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, Jim is Executive Editor of and contributor to the Annual Report on Global Islands 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, published in affiliation with the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan Province. His groundbreaking textbook, An Introduction to Island Studies, was published in 2021 with Island Studies Press and Rowman & Littlefield.

Jim was presented with the Faculty Association’s Merit Award for Outstanding Service in 2019, and UPEI’s Katherine Schultz Research Recognition Award in 2018. Upon his retirement, the University bestowed upon him with the well-earned designation of Professor Emeritus. As Dr. Ed MacDonald (History, UPEI) wrote in his nomination letter, “As someone who has been involved with the Institute of Island Studies since 1986 and with the MAIS program since its inception two decades ago, I think I can speak with some authority when I praise the tremendous contributions that he has made to those two, closely related enterprises. He has devoted his considerable energy and abilities to both, and both have prospered under his leadership.”

A builder and visionary, Jim Randall has left a legacy that will stand Island Studies @ UPEI in good stead for years to come. But we know Jim won’t be a stranger: fortunately, he and his wife Brenda have decided to continue to call PEI home. And he’s already agreed to lend his expertise to ongoing projects, and will continue to be part of the Island Studies family.

Congratulations, Jim, on a well-earned retirement!

##

Media contact:
Dave Atkinson
Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications, University of Prince Edward Island
datkinson@upei.ca | (902) 620-5117


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