Palestinian Teacher Beats Kenya’s Ayub Mohamud To The 2016 $1 Million Global Teacher Prize


Palestinian teacher Hanan Al Hroub won the Global Teacher Prize at this year’s Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai – Forbes.

A month ago the Varkey foundation shortlisted the finalists for the $1 million Global Teacher prize. Out of 8000 applications from 148 countries, the organisation arrived at the top 10 best teachers. On the announcement on Sunday, Hanan Al Hroub won the prize. In other words, she is the world’s best teacher at the moment.

Hanan Al Hroub is a one time Palestinian refugee who took up the teaching profession after her family witnessed a traumatic and violent shoot-out experience. Growing up in that sort of circumstance, she knew better what could be done to still assure that children with similar fate do not stray off completely by what they’ve seen.

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Having been through that road, the noble teacher successfully pulled back her children back from the psychological and emotional trauma. She did it by inventing participatory children games. This breakthrough inspired the idea of extending same support to neighbors and other refugee children. She uses games to teach refugee pupils conflict resolutions.

Global Teacher Prize-Winner

By her “play” technique, the children are taught the basics in respect and healthy communication. Academically she has improved literacy. A practical result of her anti-violence teaching patterns and strategy is that there has been a reduced violence rate from the pupils.

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As scheduled for March 13, the prize-winning ceremony took place at the Atlantis in Dubai. The award was presented to her by Pope Francis via a video message in which he called teachers “the builders of peace and unity”.

“Part of the education is to teach children how to play, because you learn how to be social through games and you learn the joy of life.” – Pope Francis

Present at the occasion was the patron of the Global Teacher Prize, Dubai’s ruler- Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Rwanda’s president who presented an address, Hollywood and Bollywood stars. Bill Clinton, Stephen Hawking, Vice President Joe Biden, and Prince William all sent in video messages.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation and initiator of the award, shared his hopes that this will boost and change the face of the teaching profession for the better.

Also shortlisted was Ayub Mohamud – a business studies teacher at Eastleigh High School, Nairobi, Kenya. He was shortlisted for his efforts in upholding anti-extremism and radicalization. The reason for his nomination was really significant at a time where the world battles with religious extremist. In his home country, extremists had begun to recruit and brainwash children.

See Also: Education: Kenyan Teacher Nominated For $1 Million Reward For Promoting Anti-Extremism