Upcoming in May!
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Saturday, May 6, 10:30 a.m.
Murphy Community Centre, Charlottetown
Reading Town PEI presents...

Island Studies Press author Jane Ledwell will join Diverse-Story to read from her book of poetry, Bird Calls, in both French and English at 10:30 am on Saturday, May 6, at the Murphy Community Centre.

Diverse-Story is an all-ages community event that is focused on accessibility to literacy for all Islanders. The event gets underway at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between The Community Foundation of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast. 


Island Studies May Lecture:
The Economic Success of Mauritius

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 | 7 p.m. | UPEI Main Building Faculty Lounge
with Ouma Cuniah

The May Island Studies Lecture is Tuesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus, featuring Mauritius native and now Prince Edward Islander, Ms Ouma Cuniah, speaking about the economic success of her home island, Mauritius.

Nobel prize-winning economist James Meade famously predicted a dismal future for Mauritius when he wrote in 1961, “It is going to be a great achievement if (the country) can find productive employment for its population without a serious reduction in the existing standard of living… (The) outlook for peaceful development is weak.”

And yet, nearly 50 years post-independence, on the Global Peace Index Mauritius ranked No. 1 as the most peaceful country in Sub-Saharan Africa and 23rd globally. The country also ranked first in Africa on the Word Economic Freedom Index 2016 and is in the fifth position internationally – tying with Canada, Georgia, Ireland, and UAE.

Mauritius, an island of 1,852 km², is located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. The island was successively colonized by the Dutch, the French, and the British. It became independent in 1968. With a population of nearly 1.3 million, the country derives its identity from a strong fabric of multiculturalism, multilingualism, and African, Asian, and European ethnicities. 

Ouma Cuniah will talk about the drivers behind the economic development of the country and draw comparisons and parallels with other islands sharing similar history, and with Prince Edward Island.

Ouma has been working at UPEI since July 2015. She holds a master’s degree in Commerce, and as a Chartered Certified Accountant has worked closely with the corporate sector in Mauritius and other neighbouring islands for nearly two decades.

Admission to the lecture is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

This is the final lecture for the academic year. Watch for another lecture about islands – near and far – starting in the fall. For more information, please contact Laurie at or (902) 894-2881.


Island Studies Public Symposium:
Rural Tourism in Iceland and Prince Edward Island

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 | 7-9 p.m. | MacKinnon Lecture Theatre, McDougall Hall, UPEI 
with Gudrun Gunnarsdottir, Tourism Research Centre, Iceland
and panelists Ed MacDonald, Bill Kendrick, and Ann Worth

Rural tourism will be the subject of a public symposium at UPEI on Wednesday, May 24, 7-9 p.m., in the Alex H. MacKinnon Lecture Theatre, Room 242, Don and Marion McDougall Hall.
“Tourism, Place and Identity: Rural Tourism in Iceland and Prince Edward Island”– sponsored by the Institute of Island Studies, UPEI’s VP Research and Academic, the Rural Policy Learning Commons, and Meetings and Conventions PEI – will feature Ms. Gudrun Gunnarsdottir of the Tourism Research Centre in Akureyri, Iceland. She will be joined by a Panel of authorities/practitioners in PEI Tourism, including Dr. Ed MacDonald of UPEI’s History Department, tourism operator Bill Kendrick of Experience PEI, and Ann Worth, Executive Director of 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.
Gudrun Gunnarsdottir, presently Director of the Icelandic Research Centre at the University of Akureyri in northern Iceland, is a graduate of  the MBA in Tourism Management program at the University of Guelph. She is a specialist in rural tourism.  From 2011 to 2014, she worked on a study – “The Entangled Web: Tourism, Place and Identity” – exploring how three small Icelandic communities have embraced the ever increasing role of tourism.

Dr. Edward MacDonald is a professor of history at University of Prince Edward Island. His research focus is the social, cultural, and environmental history of Prince Edward Island. The best known of his seven books is If You’re Stronghearted: Prince Edward Island in the 20th Century (October 2000). He is co-editor of Time and a Place, an environmental history of Prince Edward Island, co-published by Island Studies Press and McGill-Queen’s University Press. His current research project is the history of Prince Edward Island tourism.

Bill Kendrick of Experience PEI will talk about an "Experiential Approach to Rural Tourism." He notes that on the Island, there is substantial potential to generate revenue for rural communities by leveraging local expertise and engaging individuals who might not normally be in the tourism business. Experience PEI's recent awards include the 2016 President's Award from the Tourism Industry Association of PEI; and the 2016 Hilton Worldwide Best Small/Medium-Sized Tourism Business in Canada Award from Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

Ann Worth is Executive Director of Meetings and Conventions PEI, which works with businesses and organizations to bring meetings and conventions to the Island.

For further information, please contact (902) 894-2881 or


Congratulations to Island Studies Press author


on being nominated for the 2017 Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing in this year's Atlantic Book Awards!
He'll be doing a public reading May 13 in Charlottetown - details below!

Mark your calendars...

May 25, 2017 | 7:30-p p.m. | BIS Hall, North River Road
"Travelling the Literary Landscape of Iceland" with Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdótir


Sharing Stories of Island Life, Governance, and Global Engagement

The 1st International Conference on Small Island States (SIS) and Subnational Island Jurisdictions (SNIJs)

LOCATION: The Shared (Dutch/French) Island of Sint Maarten/St Martin
Venue: The University of St Martin, Philipsburg
DATES: March 11-14, 2018

We propose the first ever conference to discuss life, governance and global engagement on, for and with SIDS and SNIJs. We do so by encouraging conversations and presentations that engage critically with multiple levels of ‘island living’:

  • The unfolding of daily life on small island states and/or territories, involving the challenges of securing decent livelihoods and navigating the opportunities and threats of living on small island jurisdictions. These include: coping with monopolistic services; tightly networked communities; partisan politics; flight and ferry schedules; the strategic resort to migration. 
  • The role of institutions, whether public or private (including NGOs and commercial) on small island states and/or territories in facilitating, exploiting, or guarding against the spaces and practices created by globalization. What development strategies are preferred? How best to avoid over-dependence on one main export product or service (typically tourism)? How best to promote innovation and entrepreneurship? How to avoid uneven development and centrifugal tensions, especially in archipelagic jurisdictions?
  • The role of national and regional elites and interest groups, including political parties and governments, in seeking to take maximum advantage of sovereignty (in island states) or non-sovereignty (in island territories), as the case may be. Initiatives to discuss include: nation-building, constitutional reform, regionalization (as with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) and diaspora engagement.

We want to share stories. We welcome submissions that look at these dynamics on a case by case, or island by island, basis, and from different disciplinary standpoints. We are especially keen to engage with presentations that adopt a more comparative framework or methodology in their critical analysis.

Abstracts of around 150 words each are invited on any of the above themes. These should be accompanied by the full name and institutional affiliation of the author/s.
For more information, click here


With help from UPEI's Office of Development and Alumni Engagement, we've set up a donation system online. Funds will go to supporting our ongoing work, or to a specific project. For further details, check out

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