Hanan Al-Hroub, a Palestinian female teacher who won one million U.S. dollars in Global Teacher Prize 2016, attends the awards ceremony on Sunday, March 13, 2016. [cztv.com]
A Palestinian female teacher on Sunday won one million U.S. dollars in Global Teacher Prize 2016 for her work in schools in the Palestinian territories.
Hanan Al-Hroub, 43, who works at Samiha Khalil High School in the town of Al-Bireh near Ramallah in the West Bank, has been living in a refugee camp near Bethlehem, where she was regularly exposed to acts of violence.
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in front of a large white screen to watch Al-Hroub being awarded the Varkey Foundation's Global Teacher Prize 2016 at a ceremony taking place at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.
When Al-Hroub was announced the winner after she competed in the final primaries with ten other teachers from all over the world, the crowds in Ramallah's main square clapped with loud applause.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said in Ramallah that "winning the prize is a new Palestinian national achievement."
"Al-Hroub hasn't only given us optimism and hope, but also proud as she grabbed the title," said Hamdallah.
Sabri Seidam, Palestinian minister of education, told Xinhua on the phone that "winning the prize is a great historic event that not only rewarded her, but also rewarded the entire Palestinian people."
In Gaza, Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip since 2007, said in an official press statement that the movement congratulates Al-Hroub for winning the prize "which is a big proud for our people."
"I'm 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," Al-Hroub told reporters.
She went into primary education after her children were left deeply traumatized by a shooting incident they witnessed on their way home from school. Al-Hroub specialized in supporting children traumatized by violence.
"Teachers can build values and morals of young minds to ensure a fair, a more beautiful and free world," she said, adding "the future seems far and ambiguous, however, when you are involved in making it, the world represents a light."
The Global Teacher Prize recognized Al-Hroub as an exceptional teacher, who has made an outstanding contribution while shining a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.
The Varkey Foundation is a non-profit organization set up to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world.
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