Pope Francis has announced the winner of the Global Teacher Prize.
According to Vatican Radio, last evening the Holy Father announced via a video-message previously recorded in the Vatican who won the $1 million award presented by the Varkey Foundation.
The Holy Father’s message was played at the awards ceremony in Dubai.
Hanan Al Hrouba, a primary school teacher in the West Bank city of al-Bireh just outside Ramallah, who grew up in a refugee camp and now teaches refugees, won the prize.
In the video-message, the Pope said, “I would like to congratulate the teacher Hanan Al Hroub for winning this prestigious prize due to the importance she gives to the role of play in a child’s education.”
“A child has the right to play,” he added, noting, “Part of education is to teach children how to play, because you learn how to be social though games, and you learn the joy of life.”
The teacher told the Associated Press that she will use the money to offer scholarships to worthy students interested in choosing teaching careers, and said that it was “amazing” to hear Pope Francis say her name.
In Al-Hroub’s acceptance speech, she stressed her commitment to non-violence and dialogue, which the Pope also emphasized in his message.
“A population that is not well educated because of wars, or by other reasons that exist in order not to get any education,” she said, “is a population that decays,” said Pope Francis. “That is why I would like to highlight the noble profession of a teacher.”