Island nations are on the frontlines of adapting to changes resulting from climate change even though they barely contribute to the warming of the planet. And while the world has been focused on migration issues related to the conflict in Syria, climate change disruptions are a growing source of the movement of people that often flies under the radar. Maxine Burkett, an expert in climate change policy and the law, explains the evolving situation in this edition of  Wilson Center NOW.


Maxine Burkett, a Public Policy Fellow with the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, is a Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i. An expert in the law and policy of climate change, she has presented her work on diverse areas of climate law throughout the United States and in West Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. Her work has been cited in numerous news and policy outlets, including BBC Radio, the ABA Journal, the New York Times, and Nature Climate Change. From 2009-2012, Professor Burkett also served as the inaugural Director of the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP). As the Director of ICAP, she led projects to address climate change policy and planning for island communities globally. Professor Burkett attended Williams College and Exeter College, Oxford University, and received her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Burkett was a 2016 recipient of Williams College's Bicentennial Medal for distinguished achievement.

John Milewski is the executive producer and managing editor of Wilson Center NOW and also serves as director of Wilson Center ON DEMAND digital programming. Previously he served as host and producer of Dialogue at the Wilson Center and Close Up on C-SPAN. He also teaches a course on politics and media for Penn State’s Washington Program.