“If Our Library Grows, Our Students Will Grow Too”


Sophea Chea and Theany Thol, who work at the Pannasastra University in Phnom Penh, just completed a one-week study visit in Lund. They work with the Master’s Programme in Human Rights and its affiliated library, which form part of RWI’s capacity building programme in Cambodia. Karl Adam Tiderman, RWI’s librarian, was in charge of making their visit successful.

What was the highlight of your study-visit in Lund?

“We want to grow our University’s human rights library, and during our study visit we received repository training,” says Sophea. “We learned how to create a database which will help us grow our human rights library, which is one of our main priorities. This is important because we want to expand our University’s research and publication capacity, so that students of the master’s programme can publish their master’s thesis.”

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Sophea Chea

What is it like working in a human rights education in Cambodia?

“Working with human rights requires training, and more needs be to invested in education. A lot of matters related to human rights are still very much sensitive and politicized, but luckily working in academia puts us in a better position, because we only focus on raising awareness, and the government is very supportive of our programme,” Theany, coordinator of the Master’s programme, says. “Cambodia is at an early stage of human rights development, and our main work now is to develop a human rights culture in the young generation, mainly among government officials, because they are going to be the future policy-makers and judges who can effectively use this knowledge to make our country a better place”.

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Theany Thol

Why is the Human Rights Library important to your work?

“Literature is indispensably important for our master’s programme in human rights law, because our students and teachers can use these resources to study and carry out research,” says Theany.

“But for our students to grow, our library has to grow as well. We’re expanding our resources and document database for that reason. We think that educating young people in human rights work will eventually promote equality on many levels in the Cambodian society,” Sophea adds.

RWI has been involved in the area of human rights in Cambodia since 2008. Since January 2013 RWI implements a large five-year human rights capacity development programme in Cambodia focusing in particular on strengthening the capacity of Academic Institutions and Justice Sector Institutions.