A Palestinian school teacher was awarded $1 million in prize money for encouraging students to renounce violence.
Hanan al-Hroub, who grew up a refugee and resides near Ramallah, beat out 8,000 applicants worldwide for the honor, which was the second annual Global Teacher Prize in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“I feel amazing and I still can’t believe that the Pope said my name,” al-Hroub said. “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.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister of the UAE, was on-hand to present the prize to al-Hroub. However, Pope Francis announced her name after he talked about the importance of education and teachers for children who grow up amid war, according to the Associated Press.
Special congratulations to Palestinian teacher Hanan Al Hroub for winning the 2016 Global Teacher Prize Award! pic.twitter.com/CMbRnVQY3v
— عمر فلسطين (@WeTeachLifeSir_) March 13, 2016
Al-Hroub said she plans to use the prize money to create scholarships for students who wish to go into teaching. She accepted her award while the audience waved the Palestinian flag chanting, “With our souls, our blood, we sacrifice for you Palestine.”
“The Palestinian teacher can talk to the world now. Hand in hand we can affect change and provide a safe education to provide peace,” al-Hroub said.
From the AP:
The Global Teacher Prize was established two years ago to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession, employs innovative classroom practices and encourages others to join the teaching profession.
Al-Hroub’s official biography says she grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem, where violence was a regular occurrence. Her biography says she went into teaching after her children witnessed a shooting on their way home from school. That experience pushed her to think more about traumatized children and how classrooms can help. She developed a book called “We Play and Learn” focusing on the importance of playing, trust, respect, honesty and literacy.