‘Inspirational’ Palestinian teacher awarded global education prize in Dubai
ABU DHABI // Hanan Al Hroub from Samiha Khalil High School in Al Bireh, Palestine, was awarded the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2016, and US$1 million (Dh3.67m) in prize money, at a ceremony in Dubai on Sunday.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, presented Ms Al Hroub with the award on the final day of the Global Education and Skills Forum held at Atlantis, The Palm.
“I am proud to be a Palestinian female teacher standing on this stage,” Ms Al Hroub said. “I accept this as a win for all teachers in general and Palestinian teachers in particular.”
“Each day the role of the teacher is reinforced and its importance is confirmed as the world questions what future we want for our children. We, as teachers, can build the values and morals of young minds to ensure a fair world, a more beautiful world and a more free world.”
Ms Al Hroub grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp where she was regularly exposed to violence. She entered primary education after her children were left traumatised by a shooting they witnessed on their way home from school.
She encourages her students to work together, pays close attention to individual needs and rewards positive behaviour. Her approach has inspired her colleagues to review the way they teach.
The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.
Now in its second year, the US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind.
Among the celebrities and politicians to offer congratulations to Ms Al Hroub were Bill Gates, Vice President of the United States Joseph Biden, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations and US actor Kevin Spacey.
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, said: “I would like to congratulate Hanan Al Hroub. Your work is a great inspiration and an example of the work of teachers around the world.”
Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said: “I want to congratulate Hanan Al Hroub. I hope her story will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over Palestine and throughout the world every day.”
Ms Al Hroub was chosen as winner from a list of 10 finalists from around the world.