No to Violence: Palestinian Woman Wins $1 Million ‘Nobel Prize of Teaching’

© REUTERS / Mohamad TorokmanPalestinians watch on a screen in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 13, 2016 as primary school teacher Hanan al-Hroub receives the Million Dollar Teacher award
Palestinians watch on a screen in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 13, 2016 as primary school teacher Hanan al-Hroub receives the Million Dollar Teacher award - Sputnik International
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A female Palestinian teacher Hanan Al Hroub became the 2016 winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize; the award, dubbed the "Nobel prize of teaching", which carries a $1mln prize, was given to her “due to the importance she gave to the role of play in a child’s education.”

The winner of the 2016 Global Teacher Prize was announced by Pope Francis via video link at a ceremony held in Dubai on Sunday, as part of the Global Education and Skills forum.

“A child has the right to play. Part of education is to teach children how to play because you learn how to be social through games, and you learn the joy of life. I would like to congratulate the teacher Hanan Al Hroub for winning this prestigious prize due to the importance that she gives to the role of play in a child’s education,” Pope Francis said.

© AP Photo / Kamran JebreiliPope Francis speaks live via video link before he introduces the winner of the second annual Global Teacher Prize, Palestinian primary school teacher Hanan al-Hroub, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, March 13, 2016
Pope Francis speaks live via video link before he introduces the winner of the second annual Global Teacher Prize, Palestinian primary school teacher Hanan al-Hroub, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, March 13, 2016 - Sputnik International
Pope Francis speaks live via video link before he introduces the winner of the second annual Global Teacher Prize, Palestinian primary school teacher Hanan al-Hroub, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hanan, 43, beat more than 8,000 teachers from 148 countries who were nominated or applied for the award.

The teacher, who grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp, works with children who have grown up exposed to violence.

© REUTERS / Mohamad TorokmanPalestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub, who is shortlisted to win the Global Teacher Prize, is hugged by a student in the West Bank city of Ramallah February 17, 2016
Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub, who is shortlisted to win the Global Teacher Prize, is hugged by a student in the West Bank city of Ramallah February 17, 2016 - Sputnik International
Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub, who is shortlisted to win the Global Teacher Prize, is hugged by a student in the West Bank city of Ramallah February 17, 2016

Her profile at the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize website says that she went into primary education after her children were left deeply traumatized by a shooting incident they witnessed on their way home from school.

​Her experiences in meetings and consultations to discuss her children’s behavior, development and academic performance in the years that followed led Hanan to try to help others who, having grown up in similar circumstances, require special handling at school.

With so many troubled children in the region, Palestinian classrooms can be tense environments.

​Hanan embraces the slogan ‘No to Violence’ and uses a special approach that she developed herself, detailed in her book, ‘We Play and Learn’.

She focuses on developing trusting, respectful, honest and affectionate relationships with her students and emphasizes the importance of literacy.

The teacher encourages her students to work together, pays close attention to individual needs and rewards positive behavior.

​Her approach has led to an improvement in behavior in schools where violence is a frequent occurrence; she has inspired her colleagues to review the way they teach, their classroom management strategies and the punishments they use.

The award was presented by United Arab Emirates (UAE) Prime Minister and Vice President Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum.

In her acceptance speech Hanan Al Hroub said that she is proud to be a Palestinian female teacher and that the award 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."

The Global Teacher Prize, the largest of its kind, is presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

​The honor was established by non-profit organization Varkey Foundation in 2014 to raise the profile of the profession.

This year’s finalists were drawn from around the world, including the UK, Pakistan, Kenya, Palestine, the US, Japan, Finland, Australia and India.

Last year’s prize was given to Nancie Atwell, a teacher from the United States, which she then donated to the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the school she founded in Maine, US, to support underprivileged learners.

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