Palestinian teacher Hanan Al Hroub was declared the winner of the 2016 US$1 million Global Teacher Prize on Sunday at the Global Education and Skills forum in Dubai.
The Global Teacher Prize is a US $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai presented the award to the winner who was announced by Pope Francis on a big screen in a televised speech.
The Global Teacher Prize is awarded by the Varkey Foundation under the patronage of Shaikh Mohammad.
Hanan,43, thanked Shaikh Mohammad and Dino Varkey for the award.
Speaking on the occasion, Hanan said: “We, the Palestinian teachers, struggle everyday in the face of occupation. Our role as educators becomes very complex because of it. We see the suffering in our children’s eyes. I dedicate this win to all Palestinain teachers.”
Hanan grew up in the Palestinian Refugee camp in Bethlehem were she was regularly exposed to violence. With so many troubled children in the region, Palestinian classrooms can be tense environments.
Hanan embraces the slogan ‘No to violence’ and uses a specialist approach she developed herself where she focuses on developing trusting, respectful, honest and affectionate relationships with her students and emphasis the importance of literacy.
“Violence that spreads in our society stands in our way. We want our kids to live in peace like the rest of the kids in the world I want to take this opportunity to spread the message ‘say no to violence’,” she added.
The prize serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated. It seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers – not only on their students but on the communities around them.
The Global Teacher Prize Judging Academy includes public officials, head teachers, academics, journalists, entrepreneurs, company directors, scientists and entertainment industry figures from around the world. They share the common goal of shining a spotlight on the great work that teachers do and use a comprehensive list of judging criteria.
In 2015, at the Global Education and Skills Forum, Nancie Atwell was announced as the winner from the top 10 outstanding finalists and presented with the first ever Global Teacher Prize.
Nancie donated the $1m award to the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the school she founded in Maine, USA, to support underprivileged learners.
By Noor Nazzal
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