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UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability and the University of Aruba host the 1st International Island States/Island Territories Conference

Thursday, April 11, 2019
Close to 100 delegates participated in the International Conference on Small Island States and Subnational Island Jurisdictions

The first International Conference on Small Island States and Subnational Island Jurisdictions was hosted March 26 to 29 by the University of Aruba, in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (COE) and the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, which is shared between the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of Malta.

The theme of the conference was “Island States/Island Territories: Sharing Stories of Island Life, Governance and Global Engagement.” The conference appealed to scholars, policy-makers, NGO representatives, students, and members of the general public. Close to 100 participants attended, representing several geographic regions, including the Caribbean, Pacific and Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS), Australasia, and the North Atlantic.

The conference awarded six international student travel scholarships, including Owen Jennings, a graduate of UPEI’s Master of Arts in Island Studies (MAIS) program and now a PhD student at the University of Hawai’i; and Patrick Lévêque, a current student in the MAIS program. Five other UPEI faculty and students presented papers, including Dr. Laurie Brinklow (lecturer in Island Studies), Kimberly Wishart Chu-Foon (PhD candidate, Environmental Studies), and MAIS students Margaret Paterson, Louise Campbell, and Catherine Gallant.

The conference featured two female heads of government as keynote speakers addressing integrity in governance and the resilience of islands. Both the Honourable Evelyna C. Wever-Croes, Prime Minister of Aruba and Minister of General Affairs, Integrity, Energy, Innovation & Government Organization, as well as the Honourable Leona Romeo-Marlin, Prime Minister of Saint Maarten and Minister of General Affairs, graced the conference with their insights.

The community enjoyed a free public lecture by Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, organized alongside the conference on the evening of March 28, which was attended by the governor of Aruba.

The conference’s international planning committee was chaired by UNESCO co-chair Dr. Jim Randall (UPEI), with help from UNESCO Chair Co-ordinator Dr. Laurie Brinklow. Local co-hosts included Deborah Alexander from the Centre for Lifelong Learning at University of Aruba, Glenn Thodé, Rector of the University of Aruba, Patrick Arens, Business Director of the University of Aruba, and Arno Boersma and Francielle Laclé from the COE. The planning committee comprised scholars from several academic institutions, including the University of the West Indies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University of Malta, Leiden University, and the University of the West of England.

Dr. Jim Randall noted that this was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the intellectual capacity and hospitality of the University of Aruba and the island in general. “Several first-time international delegates said to me that this will not be the last time they plan on visiting Aruba,” he said.

The Planning Committee is grateful for the contributions made by the sponsors to this event. These include The Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Guardian Group Fatum, the University of the West of England, Aruba Tourism Authority, the Think to Do Institute, Smit&Dorlas, and Aruba Aloe.

For more information, contact islands.conferencearuba@ua.aw.

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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