May’s Island Studies Lecture examines the economic success of Mauritius

Friday, May 5, 2017
Ouma Cuniah

The May Island Studies Lecture will examine the economic success of Mauritius—a small island nation in the Indian Ocean. Ouma Cuniah, a native of Mauritius and a current Prince Edward Islander, will deliver the lecture Tuesday, May 16, at 7:00 pm in the Faculty Lounge of UPEI’s SDU Main Building.

Nobel prize-winning economist James Meade 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.”

Nearly fifty years post-independence, Mauritius ranked number one on the Global Peace Index as the most peaceful country in Sub-Saharan Africa. The country also recently ranked first in Africa on the Word Economic Freedom Index and is in the fifth position internationally, tying with Canada, Georgia, Ireland, and UAE.

Mauritius was successively colonized by the Dutch, French, and 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. 

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.

Cuniah 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.

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.

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