A podcast with Margaret Bywater. A prominent figure in Cambodian civil society for more than three decades, Bywater has worked with refugees and helped to rebuild the education sector, primarily through libraries and the establishment of information services.
During the 1980s she toured refugee camps in Malaysia, Thailand, and Hong Kong before arriving in what was then known as Kampuchea in 1986. She later undertook a consultancy for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan.
Working with Quaker Service Australia, Bywater lobbied for recognition of the Soviet-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea and restoration of government aid, while backing efforts to find a peaceful solution to the long-running political impasse during the final years of the Cold War.
Bywater spoke with The Diplomat’s Luke Hunt about the extraordinary changes that have occurred in Cambodia since the 1980s, the transition to peace and economic growth, the importance of libraries, and delivering books in a time of war. Listen here