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The Past is Another Country is a series of interviews with individuals distinguished for their contributions to culture and to society. In addition to discussing their individual contributions, the programmes explore the context in which each of them functioned. The interviews, by Rajiva Wijesinha, cover a range of developments in post-independence Sri Lanka, and present a panoramic view of social change in the latter half of the 20th century.

Tamara Kunanayagam was born of Tamil parents from two different communities, who were both radical in their outlook. Educated in the Sinhala medium at Ladies College, she also studied for a while in Jaffna when radicalism was developing there during the sixties. Having travelled overland to Europe in her teens, she studied there and worked in Human Rights in Geneva, before being appointed by the present government as Sri Lankan ambassador in Cuba and then in Geneva.