Canada's Maggie MacDonnell wins $1m Global Teacher Prize

A Canadian who teaches at a school in a fly-in only village in the Arctic won a $1-million Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony in Dubai on Sunday, March 19.

A teacher who has spent the past six years working in a fly-in Inuit village in the Canadian arctic was last night named the victor of the Global Teacher Prize, an award which is often referred to as "the Nobel Prize of Teaching".

The Award is given every year to honour the educators around the world who have made an outstanding contribution to their field of profession.

The victor of the Global Teacher Prize, which is provided by the Varkey Foundation, was announced 80 miles above the Earth by Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut in the International Space Station, who sent a message thanking teachers across the world. She was awarded the prize during a ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, beating out about 20,000 applicants from around the world.

"As a teacher, when I come to school the morning after there is an empty desk in that classroom".

Mr Trudeau congratulated Ms MacDonnell via a video message in English and French.

"Teachers owe responsibilities to many people - to students, to parents, to the community, the school board".

She lives and works in Salluit, an Inuit village deep in the Canadian Arctic.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, presented Ms MacDonnell with the award on the final day of the Global Education and Skills Forum at the Atlantis, The Palm hotel.

Her perseverance to continue teaching in the remote area, where many teachers leave their post midway through the year, made her a standout for the award.

Find out more about Maggie MacDonnell's story in the video below. The nine others hail from Pakistan, the U.K., Jamaica, Spain, Germany, China, Kenya, Australia and Brazil. MacDonnell created a number of programs for boys and girls, including job mentorship and funds to assist with healthy meals. She dramatically improved attendance rates by getting pupils involved in running a community children, attending suicide prevention training and hiking through national parks.

The Nobel-style award was set up 3 years ago by the Dubai-based Varkey Foundation.

Last year, Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub won the prestigious prize for her innovative approach of using play to counter violent behavior among her students in the West Bank.

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, speaking from the International Space Station, said: "I'd like to be the first person in history to thank all the world's teachers from space".

  • Leroy Wright