[Press Release] IIS goes to COP26

On November 11, 2021, Island Studies went to COP – virtually! 

We were part of a hybrid event entitled Climate Change and Islands, hosted by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance in Glasgow, along with the Institute of Island Studies at UPEI and Island Innovation.  

The event, which served as the culmination of the Island Insights Series, asked the question:  What lessons can we learn from the responses to COVID-19 when positioning islands to become more sustainable? 

Islands in countries like Scotland have the potential of showing the way forward in promoting innovation when it comes to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The event featured presentations on Scotland and climate change, renewable energy on Scotland’s islands, the effects of and legal responses to climate change on islands, and climate change from the point of view of youth and climate justice. Dr. Jim Randall, Professor Emeritus at UPEI, brought opening remarks on behalf of Island Studies at UPEI, and Dr. Laurie Brinklow, Interim Chair of the IIS, served as a discussant.

Says Dr Brinklow, “Having Island Studies and UPEI be part of the global conversation at COP26 was an opportunity not to be missed. I am proud of the work our colleagues and students have done on the COVID-19 Island Insights Series and the research we continue to do on climate change and islands. Islands are at the forefront of climate change and sea-level rise  – and, like it or not, Prince Edward Island is one of those islands. If we don’t want to be become three or four Prince Edward Islands, then we must continue to get our research out there and continue to ensure that our are heard.” 

The session recording can be found here (with the passcode kYS#ck0F).

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

[Research] PEI Wellbeing Survey

September 22, 2021 —

The Institute of Island Studies is embarking on a four-year study to better understand and assess the well-being and quality of life of Islanders. We would like you to be part of the initiative! Click on the survey link below to share your thoughts on how island communities could be better places to live, work and play. The survey is open until November 2021.

Full details available at islandstudies.com/research/pei-well-being-project

[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

[New Publication] What can island studies show us about sustainable development and public policy today?

April 16, 2021 —
The Institute of Island Studies was invited to submit an article to The Parliamentarian, the Journal of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth, for their recent issue, Parliamentary democracy in the smallest Parliaments and Legislatures of the Commonwealth. Read our contribution, “What can island studies show us about sustainable development and public policy today?” below.

The issue also includes other articles about islands, including one from our colleagues in Malta on “The importance of academic research in studying islands and small states.”
Click here to read the full issue


NEWS: “Institute of Island Studies: Contributing to Public Policy on PEI”

April 14, 2021 —
The Institute of Island Studies’ Dr. Laurie Brinklow was recently invited to give a presentation to Dr. Carolyn Peach Brown‘s ENV-4010: Public Scholars on Environmental Issues class regarding the Institute and its contributions to environmental awareness and public policy on Prince Edward Island.

Dr. Brinklow’s presentation has been summarized in a document which outlines the many ways in which the Institute of Island Studies has contributed – and continues to contribute – to awareness and education regarding climate change and the environment, with public policy implications here on Prince Edward Island and around the world.

Complete with links to relevant publications, event recordings, and research projects, this document is a valuable resource for anyone seeking an overview of the Institute of Island Studies’ active role in environmental policy education and research.


NEWS: Final report of the Institute of Island Studies Futures Committee

Final report of the Institute of Island Studies Futures Committee

April 22, 2014—

In the fall of 2013, the University of Prince Edward Island created a committee to advise on the future operations of the University’s longstanding and widely respected institute for research and public policy: the Institute of Island Studies. The Institute of Island Studies Futures Committee, in cooperation with UPEI’s Vice-President Research and Graduate Studies, and Interim Vice-President Academic has released its final report, entitled One Step Back, and Two Steps Forward, which is available for download and review.

Using as its starting point an external consultants’ report commissioned in 2013, the Report endorses the current mandate of the Institute as a centre for the comparative study of Prince Edward Island and other islands, and outlines a number of options for its future structure and operations. Two of the key recommendations entail adding a national and international scope to the membership of the Institute’s advisory committee and a strong commitment to the Institute’s role as an honest broker of public dialogue about key issues confronting Prince Edward Island. To that end, the Institute will organize two public forums during 2014, one in the spring and one in the fall, on water resources and land use issues.

In its report, the Committee expresses its confidence in the future of the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island and of the strong support from the University and community.

The full text of the report can be downloaded here.