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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Dr. Laurie Brinklow takes over as Island Studies Chair/MAIS Coordinator

Charlottetown, PEI (April 25, 2022)—  

The University of Prince Edward Island is pleased to announce the appointment of Assistant Professor Dr. Laurie Brinklow as the new Coordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program and Chair of the Institute of Island Studies (IIS). She has been carrying out the roles in an interim capacity since May 1, 2020, with the retirement of Dr. James Randall. 

Dr. Brinklow is no stranger to Island Studies, serving as IIS Publishing Coordinator and research project administrator in the 1990s and 2000s, Coordinator of the IIS and UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability from 2014 to 2020, and as a sessional instructor in the MAIS program since 2014. She herself completed the Master of Arts in Island Studies program in 2007 and went on to do her PhD in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Tasmania. Founder of Charlottetown’s Acorn Press, she has published widely in academia and has two volumes of poetry, the most recent being My island’s the house I sleep in at night (Island Studies Press). She is Secretary of the International Small Island Studies Association and Iceland’s Honorary Consul to Prince Edward Island.  

Says Dr. Brinklow, “I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those who came before me with their own visions for Island Studies: people like Harry Baglole, Brent MacLaine, Godfrey Baldacchino, Jim Randall, Ed MacDonald, Jean Mitchell. They are my mentors and inspirations in this Island Studies journey. And getting to meet islanders from around the world, to be part of a huge Island Studies family – what better way to spend one’s life?”  

As MAIS Coordinator, she hopes to continue to grow the program, solidifying UPEI’s reputation as the premier academic institution in Island Studies. Boasting over 60 graduates and 65 local and international students coming from as far away as England, Taiwan, Egypt, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Nigeria, the interdisciplinary program focuses on island tourism, sustainability, international relations, and public policy on Prince Edward Island and other islands. As Chair of the IIS, she will continue to build on networks and collaborations with UPEI colleagues, government departments, and other institutions in Canada and around the world, being a bridge between the University and the community and focusing on PEI’s economic, environmental, and cultural health and well-being. She will continue to help Island Studies Press’s Bren Simmers produce award-winning publications that celebrate the Island’s culture and stories. And she will continue to work closely with Dr. Jean Mitchell, UPEI’s UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, to expand small islands’ sustainability across intersecting socio-economic, cultural, aesthetic, and environmental domains in the Pacific and Caribbean. Dr. Brinklow’s own research explores “islandness” and people’s attachment to islands through the language of art in Tasmania, Newfoundland, and other north Atlantic islands. 

The mother of two daughters and soon-to-be four grandchildren, Laurie lives in Charlottetown with her musician husband Michael Mooney and cat Alvin– when she’s not travelling to other islands. 

Media contact:
Anna MacDonald
Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications, University of Prince Edward Island
amacdonald@upei.ca | (902)-566-0949

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