Palestinian Wins Global Teacher Prize

DUBAI – A Palestinian teacher who grew up in a refugee camp in Bethlehem has been awarded a prestigious $1m teaching award, in recognition of her work with children exposed to violence.

“I am proud to be a Palestinian female teacher standing on this stage. I accept this as a win for all teachers in general and Palestinian teachers in particular,” Hanan al-Hroub, from Samiha Khalil High School in al-Bireh, Palestine, said after receiving the award, Press Association reported on Sunday, March 13.

“Each day, the role of the teacher is reinforced and its importance confirmed as the world questions what future we want for our children.”

Jubilant al-Hroub received the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2016 from Sheikh Maktoum and Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, in Dubai on Sunday, March 13.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Al Maktoum was on-hand to present the prize to al-Hroub, her name was announced by Pope Francis in a video message after he talked about the importance of education and teachers, especially for children who grow up amid war.

“I feel amazing and I still can’t believe that the Pope said my name,” al-Hroub told The Associated Press.

“For an Arab, Palestinian teacher to talk to the world today and to reach the highest peak in teaching could be an example for teachers around the world.”

Hroub, who had witnessed a particularly rough childhood living in a Palestinian refugee camp, used her childhood experiences to develop a teaching technique that focused on play as a learning tool and shunned violence.

The Palestinian teacher and author of the book, We Play and Learn, shared her views at conferences, meetings and teacher training seminars.

She is planning to spend the money on helping students and teachers around the world to help them progress in their education and careers.

Pope Francis congratulated the teacher at the ceremony via a video message.

“A child has the right to play,” he said.

“Part of education is to teach children how to play because you learn how to be social through games as well as learn the joy of life.”