International Small Islands Studies Association

ISISA Charter


A group of scholars, researchers and other interested persons from around the world concerned with small islands first organised an international conference in Victoria BC, Canada, in 1986 to discuss their common interests. This first, 'Islands of the World' (IoW) conference was followed by further meetings in Tasmania, Australia (1988) and in New Providence/Nassau, Bahamas (1992). At the 3rd IoW meeting in the Bahamas, it was decided to form a continuing organisation - the International Small Islands Studies Association - and that this body would hold its first meeting at the 4th 'Islands of the World' conference, in Okinawa, Japan, in June 1994. Subsequent conferences have been held in Mauritius (IoW 5, 1998), Isle of Skye, Scotland (IoW 6, 2000), Prince Edward Island, Canada (IoW 7, 2002), Kinmen, Taiwan (IoW 8, 2004), Maui, Hawai'i, USA (IoW 9, 2006), Jeju, Korea (IoW 10, 2008), Bornholm, Denmark (IoW 11, 2010), Tortola, British Virgin Islands (IoW 12, 2012), Penghu, Taiwan (IoW 13, 2014), Lesvos, Greece (IoW 14, 2016), Kangaroo Island, Australia (IoW 15, 2017), Leeuwarden and Terschelling (IoW 16, 2018) and (remotely) in Newfoundland, Canada (IoW 17, 2021).

Article I. Name  

The name of the Association shall be the International Small Islands Studies Association (hereinafter known simply by its acronym in English, ISISA). 

Article II. Objectives of ISISA 

1.To advance the study of islands;

2.To encourage free and critical discussion on island affairs, including (but not limited to) matters dealing with survival, sustainability, islandness, smallness, insularity, resource management, the environment and the culture and nature of island life;

3.To generate an interest in the study of islands, especially amongst those who hail, from, work in, are associated with, or whose decisions have an impact on small islands and small island life. 


Article III. Activities 

1.ISISA shall aim to connect members of the general public, students, scholars, policy makers, community representatives and others interested in small island matters through international and electronic communication, such as newsletters, journals, website, social media, conferences and other periodic events.

2.ISISA shall be independent, not-for-profit and educational.


Article IV. Membership 

1.The ISISA Membership shall be the governing body of the Association. It is composed of all members in good standing. A member in 'good standing' is one who has paid his/her current membership dues.

2.Membership is open to individuals having an interest in island studies, including small island studies, and who accept the Charter and its underlying principles. Each member has one vote.

3.Membershp fees shall be set by the Executive Committee and will be reviewed on a regular basis. Effective from January 1, 2017, membership dues are US$20 or equivalent, payable on an annual basis.

4.Individuals not in a position to pay the membership fee but who wish to become members of ISISA should approach the ISISA Treasurer with a written request, citing their reasons, and which will be considered by the ISISA Executive Committee. The Committee's decision shall be final.

5. Life Membership in ISISA is available to current or prospective members for a once-only-fee of US$200 or equivalent payable at any time, and following the approval of the application by the ISISA Executive Committee.

6. Individuals, entities, organisations and institutuons may make donations, or offer sponsorship, to support the work of ISISA, and shall be appropriately recognised in the Association's publications and meetings. Any donation or sponsorship of US$200 (or equivalent) or higher requires the approval of the ISISA Executive Committee.

7.The Rights of members in good standing shall be to attend the meetings of the Association, to vote, to hold office, to receive such publications and enjoy such privileges as shall be determined by the Executive Committee.

8.A General Meeting of ISISA should be held during its periodic conferences for the election of officers, to present and discuss the budget, and to conduct the Association's business.

9.Termination of membership takes place, either (a) when a member's subscription has lapsed by six (6) months, and once that individual has been duly notified of this lapse by the ISISA Secretary; or (b) by resignation in writing by that member, duly sent to the ISISA Secretary.


Article V. Executive Committee 

1.The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the daily operation of ISISA, may co-opt other members, and is subordinate to the Membership at the General Meeting.

2.The President and Executive Committee members shall be elected at the ISISA General Meeting and shall serve for four years.

3.The President (or, in his/her absence, the Vice President or nominee, in that order) shall preside at all meetings of the Association.

4.The Executive Committee shall consist of not less than six and not more than nine members. These include the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary and the Treasurer, along with up to five, other, elected ordinary members.

5.Each Executive Committee will also include at least two supernumerary (or co-opted) members: one representing the immediately preceding ‘Islands of the World’ Conference; and one representing the immediately following ‘Islands of the World’ Conference.


Article VI. Conferences and Meetings 

1.Conferences shall usually be held biennially, at times and places to be determined by the Executive Committee in consultation with the Membership.

2.A General Meeting shall be held as part of each ISISA Conference.

3. During those calendar years when an ISISA 'Islands of the World' Conference is not taking place, the ISISA Executive welcomes requests for collaboration and/or support from like-minded associations who are keen on organising an 'island studies' conference, workshop, project or similar activity. Such requests may include supporting a number of scholarships meant to help students financially to attend such an activity.  An acknowledgement of support from ISISA is expected from the event organizers.  The ISISA Executive will consider each such request on a case-by-case basis and at its full discretion.

4.The Executive Committee shall confer at least twice each year, at such time and in such manner as it shall determine.


Article VII. Duration  

The Duration of ISISA is Perpetual.


Article VIII. Amendments 

1.This Charter may be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of all ISISA members in good standing present at the General Meeting.

2.Amendments may be proposed by the President, Executive Committee, or through the petition of 20% or more of the members in good standing. ISISA will vote upon all such proposed amendments at its next regularly scheduled General Meeting, convened for this purpose. Any such meetings can be scheduled electronically. 

As amended at the ‘Islands of the World XIV’ Conference General Meeting of ISISA, held in Lesbos, Greece, on 25 May 2016.