USM’s Dean won partial scholarship to Conference in Greece


PHILIPSBURG – Following a competition, the Island Resources Foundation presented the University of St. Martin (USM) Dean of Academics Genѐve Phillip, with a partial scholarship to attend the 14th annual Islands of the World Conference in Lesvos, Greece.

The theme of the Conference, which ran from May 23-27, was “Island Identity – Niss(i)ology and Utopia,” Dean Phillip explained that Nissiology is a concept coined by world renowned island studies scholar Grant McCall and it refers to “the study of islands on their own terms.”

Dean Phillip was among six researchers, who received scholarships to attend the Conference. Of the approximately 150 global participants, Phillip said she was humbled to be among the six winners. The title of Phillip’s paper was: “Understanding ideational diffusion and island identity through a good governance paradigm.”

The idea for the conference paper stemmed from her PhD thesis in which she focuses on problematizing and deconstructing universalistic governance norms in the island territories of Curaçao, St. Maarten and Trinidad and Tobago. Sharing more about her research, Dean Phillip stated, “my work aims not only to problematize universalistic norms that are inconsistent with island nominated challenges, but I also endeavor to provide formidable policy options and alternatives.”

In her presentation, Phillip indicated that research participants in the named territories were generally responding to questions of governance in non-technical terms. She has already identified emerging themes in her PhD research which relate to questions of power, agency, capacity and education, which in turn have implications for the quality of governance that is attainable in the territories.

“Ideas about what constitutes good governance can come as often as possible from the Hague, Brussels or the World Bank, if we do not get persons to talk about their perception of it and decide how it must translate into policy practice in the context of their own realities it will never work,” she stated.

Dean Phillip intends to submit her conference paper to be considered for publication in the next issue of the Island Studies Journal.