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New mum collects masters

Matthew Hogan

19 April 2016: Graduation cheerleaders don't come much younger than five-day old Zeeshan Ali Hayat who was at Parliament House on 7 April to watch his mother Dilshad Pari receive a Master of International Development from the University of Canberra.

With her graduation falling on her due date and her doctor advising her that she would need to have a caesarean section birth, Ms Pari was able to deliver her baby boy in time to attend her graduation.

"My doctor said I would have to go in for a caesarean because my daughter was also born via c-section," she said. "So if I have to go through a caesarean in any case, I asked if I could have my baby first so I can go to my graduation."

Ms Pari's husband Hayat Muhammad Khan and four-year-old daughter Deyanapari also attended her ceremony at Parliament House.

The husband and wife team are both studying in Australia as recipients of the Australia Award Scholarship, which is administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trades to provide opportunities to people from developing countries.

With nearly a decade's experience working in social protection with the United Nations Development Programme in Pakistan, Ms Pari is confident she now has the knowledge to flourish when she returns home.

"After getting this degree I am more confident that I have the practical experience as well as theoretical understanding of concepts, approaches, and models of development, so it's the right mix," she said.

With her studies now over, Ms Pari can enjoy the new addition to her family while her husband completes his studies, before returning to Pakistan at the end of the year.

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