Father and daughter in Class of 2016: making international relations a family affair

Two generations from the same family will graduate from the University of Birmingham this year when Sikander Khan follows in his daughter Zarah’s footsteps and crosses the stage of the Great Hall.

On 8th December, the father of four will graduate with Merit for an MA in International Relations, just 5 months after his second eldest graduated with a BA in International Relations with distinction.

The pair are keeping alive a long-held tradition that has seen many younger family members following in the footsteps of their older generations at the University of Birmingham. At least 900 alumni of the University are recorded as parents of other graduates.

The family connection is a theme that runs right to the top of the University of Birmingham. Its Chancellor, Lord Bilimoria, himself an honorary graduate of the University, was the fourth member of his family to graduate from the University; his mother, uncle and maternal grandfather all studied at the Edgbaston campus.

Sikander, whose family are from the city’s Lozells area, said:

“We had a wonderful time on campus celebrating Zarah’s graduation in the summer, though I must admit I timed it badly as I’d originally aimed to be graduating with her! That would have been special but it’s been great to study together, sharing thoughts and ideas. She’s currently in China improving her Mandarin through an internship sponsored by the British Council and has ambition to use her degree to make the world a more peaceful place. A lot of negativity has been portrayed in the media recently in light of the EU Referendum and the US Election but I’m proud to study and live in such a rich, diverse and multicultural city like Birmingham.”

Professor Kathy Armour, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Birmingham, said:

“It’s testament to the positive experiences of our students that so many of our graduates support and encourage their children to study in the place that they once did. We encourage and promote a culture of lifelong learning, so it’s really great that both Sikander and Zarah were able to fulfil their ambitions in 2016, together.”

ENDS 

Notes to Editors

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