Measuring Quality of Life on Prince Edward Island

The first Harry Baglole Memorial Public Symposium is November 22 at UPEI
Monday, November 19, 2018
Gwen Colman

The public is invited to the first Harry Baglole Memorial Public Symposium in Island Studies. Measuring Quality of Life on Prince Edward Island will take place on  Thursday, November 22, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm in the Alex H. MacKinnon Auditorium (Room 242), UPEI’s Don and Marion McDougall Hall. This event is sponsored by UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies and UPEI Research Services. 

The principal speaker will be Gwen Colman, who, in 1997, along with her husband Ron, founded Genuine Progress Index (GPI) Atlantic, a pioneering research organization in creating new measures of well-being and progress. Colman will discuss GPI’s work in collaborative development of well-being measures with communities in Bhutan, New Zealand, Thailand, and Nova Scotia. Recently, GPI has worked with a network of universities and NGOs in southeast Asia, developing a methodology for collaborative development of well-being measures at the community level. She will speak about recent work in two communities in Thailand and about previous work with the creation of community GPIs in two communities in Nova Scotia. Colman will identify the elements for creating successful community partnerships to measure well-being and their resultant impact.

Colman will be joined by panelists Dr. Jim Randall and Wendy MacDonald, who will address the relevance of GPIs to the health and prosperity of this island.

“Too often what we think constitutes quality of life is divorced from the everyday lives of people,” says Dr. Randall, UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, chair of the Institute of Island Studies, and coordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies program at UPEI. “By asking people how they feel about themselves, their neighbourhoods, and their communities, we can start to get a better picture of islanders’ values, hopes, and dreams and whether these are being fulfilled.”

Wendy MacDonald worked in a range of policy and management roles in the provincial government before establishing her own consulting firm in 1998. In 2008, MacDonald rejoined the provincial government and in 2010 was appointed Clerk Assistant. She has worked on various policy projects including kindergarten, early childhood, education governance, and poverty reduction. As secretary to the cabinet committee on priorities, she works to support the cabinet decision-making processes and to strengthen policy capacity in government. 

The symposium will be chaired by Andrew Lush, a member of the Institute of Island Studies advisory committee.

Following the presentations, there will be time for discussion and questions from the floor. Admission is free. All are welcome.

The symposium series is being renamed in honour of Harry Baglole, the Institute of Island Studies’ first director, who passed away in May. Baglole 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.

For more details, visit or contact the Institute 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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