Rebuilding Cambodia and Leaving

A conversation with Margaret Bywater.

Margaret Bywater has been a prominent figure in Cambodian civil society for more than three decades, working with refugees and helping 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.

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