Congratulations to Hanan Al Hroub, winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2016

Palestinian teacher honoured in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the profession

Hanan Al Hroub was announced as the winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2016 at a glittering ceremony in Dubai that marked the finale of this year’s Global Education and Skills Forum.

Hanan, who grew up in a refugee camp in Palestine, went into education after her children were left traumatised by a shooting incident they witnessed on their way home from school. She embraces the slogan “No to Violence” and uses a specialist teaching approach she developed herself, detailed in her book, We Play and Learn.

Hanan received the prestigious USD 1M award from Sunny Varkey, Chairman of GEMS Education and founder of the Varkey Foundation, in the presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. The event was hosted by some of the biggest names from Hollywood and Bollywood including Abhishek Bachchan, Salma Hayek, Akshay Kumar and Matthew McConaughey.

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The evening began with an outstanding performance of Shakuntala, a Rock Opera by students from GEMS Modern Academy.

Featuring televised addresses from Pope Francis, the United Kingdom’s Prince William and, from the US, Vice President Joe Biden and former president Bill Clinton, the awards ceremony - also attended by GEMS students from Our Own Indian School - received a good deal of attention from the world’s media. As well as many other outlets, the event was covered by the BBC, CNN, Daily Mail, Forbes, The Guardian, The New York Times and the Washington Post.

In announcing the prize’s winner, Pope Francis praised Hanan’s work in limiting violence at her school through play-based learning.

“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 and you learn the joy of life.”

Upon receiving the prize, Hanan said: “Education is a human right and it is the right of our children to live their childhood in peace... Education unites us all."

For more information and pictures visit the Global Teacher Prize website.