St Helena took a historical turn and welcomed the first commercial air service in October 2017. As part of the island’s welcome to new visitors with the opening of the airport, St Helena hosted its first international conference entitled: Diverse Island Environments; A multi-disciplinary view of islands in January and February 2018.

Researchers from across the world travelled to the island to participate in the conference that takes a multi-disciplinary view of diverse island environments with a focus on St Helena as a key case-study. The programme included anthropologists, sociologists, economists, ecologists, environmentalists, fisheries scientists, educational professionals and island experts; and brought together a wide range of disciplines to facilitate holistic thinking and ideas around islands.

Talks covered a range of topics from the ‘impact of connectivity on island spaces’ and ‘transnational villagers’ to ‘oceanic floras’ and ‘marine plastics’. The conference was also used as a platform for our local researchers and students who shared the outcomes of the research that they are doing on island.

The conference was sponsored by Enterprise St Helena, SAERI, Georgia Aquarium, Ocean Conservancy and SURE St Helena. Specialists from Georgia Aquarium presented on topics including the uniqueness of St Helena’s whale sharks and the growing issue of marine plastics. Georgia Aquarium’s research, in partnership with St Helena’s Environmental and Natural Resources Department research and collaboration with Georgia Aquarium; has already highlighted the importance of St Helena as a multi-use habitat for whale sharks.

Sponsors and Partners

The conference would not have happened without the input and support for a large number of sponsors and partners: