The Varkey Foundation, the philanthropic arm of GEMS Education in Dubai, has awarded its second annual Global Teacher Prize to Hanan Al Hroub, a teacher at the Samiha Khalil Secondary School in Palestine.
Created to recognize an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession, the prize includes a $1 million cash award to be paid over ten years. This year's winner was selected from among ten finalists by a committee that included Dubai Cares CEO Tariq Al Gurg; Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation; Carina Wong, deputy director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Wendy Kopp, founder and former CEO of Teach For America.
Al Hroub, who grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp, professes the slogan "No to Violence" and, as detailed in her book We Play and Learn, employs an approach in the classroom focused on developing trusting, respectful, honest relationships with her students as well as the importance of literacy. She also encourages her students to work with each other, pays close attention to their individual needs, and rewards positive behavior. Her approach has led to a decline in violent behavior in schools where it is a frequent occurrence and has inspired her colleagues to reconsider their own teaching methods, classroom management strategies, and disciplinary techniques.
Presented at the Global Education and Skills Forum 2016 in Dubai, the award stipulates that the recipient remain a classroom teacher for at least five years while serving as a global ambassador for the Varkey Foundation, that s/he attend various events, and that s/he address various public forums with the aim of enhancing the prestige of the teaching profession.