Yalda Hakim


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Dateline presenter and video journalist Yalda Hakim was born in Afghanistan. When she was six months old her father decided to take his family out of the country ravaged by war between the invading Soviet Union and the mujahideen resistance.

Hakim's father had been studying in Czechoslovakia but when he returned to Afghanistan, he discovered he was to be conscripted into the army.  He didn't want that, he couldn't see a future for the country so he decided the only option was to leave.  The family left on horseback and went through people smugglers to make the journey across the border to Pakistan.'

Hakim's interest in international affairs has been brewing for decades. The family settled in Pakistan for two years while Hakim's father worked as an architect and her mother as a nurse.  Eventually, they were offered the opportunity to migrate to the US, Germany or Australia.  Hakim's parents jumped at the chance to come to Australia because they knew it was an opportunity for a much better life.

Arriving in Sydney, the family settled in Sydney's north-west where Hakim finished school, then went to Macquarie University.

At the same time she applied to do work experience at Dateline, where she was given valuable advice.  ''finish uni but also pick up a camera and go somewhere and shoot some stories and that's how you'll end up getting a job,''

She joined Dateline as a full-time video journalist, with her first report about her return to Kabul after 25 years' absence.

Since then, she's reported from across the world for Dateline and SBS's World News Australia, winning the United Nations Media Peace Prize for best Australian Television News Coverage. She's also been a finalist for the Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award.

Yalda's profile of Iran's Maestro, anti-government campaigner Mohammad Shajarian, has become one of the most watched stories on the Dateline website.

The interview was conducted in Farsi, which is one of the six languages Yalda can speak, along with Urdu, Hindi, Dari and Pashto... she's also currently trying to master Mandarin.

As well as presenting alongside fellow video journalist Mark Davis, Yalda continues to report for Dateline from around the world.

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