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Education

This Palestinian teacher is saying no to violence and yes to learning and peace

Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize

Hanan Al Hroub, a primary education teacher, grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem, where daily acts of violence were a harsh reality.

She decided to become a primary school teacher after realizing that when children witness violent events they become incredibly traumatized and tend to need extra care in educational settings.

The realization came from a traumatizing event that impacted her own children. On the way home from school one day, Her children witnessed a shooting incident that left their father injured. For obvious reasons this was deeply upsetting for the children. Hanan saw first hand, her children’s behaviors, personalities and academics were transformed because of this one event. 

After Hanan attended countless meetings and consultations to discuss her children’s behavior and academic performance, she discovered she could help other children who experience similar traumatic experiences.

Because of the constant violence in the region, classrooms in the area are more likely to be tense and sometimes even discouraging environments. A lot of children display poor academic behavior and even resort to violence against one another.

Hanan is changing this dynamic. By embracing the simple concept of saying no to violence and empowering the children to learn through playing, she is transforming the lives of her students.

Literacy is at the core of her teaching but she also explores less textbook focused topics like trust, respect, honesty, and positive relationships. 

She encourages her students to work together and pay close attention to individual needs. And if they do these things and practice good behavior, they get rewards! Because, who doesn’t love a reward?

Her simple, yet sincere approach has led to a decline in violent behaviour in her classrooms which has inspired her colleagues to evaluate their own teaching methods! 

Because of her amazing teaching style and dedication to peace, Hanan was nominated for the The Global Teacher Prize and has been named one of the top 10 finalists!


The Global Teacher Prize is a $1 million USD annual award presented to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to education. Awarded by the UK-based Varkey Foundation, an organization striving to celebrate educators around the world, each nominee is acknowledged for their impact on students and the larger community. Nominees include public officials, head teachers, academics, journalists, entrepreneurs, company directors, scientists and entertainment industry figures from around the globe. The winners will be announced on March 13th, 2016 at the Global Education and Skills Forumin Dubai.

To learn more about the award visit The Global Teacher Prize.


Hanan Al Hroub is an incredible example to what it means to dedicate every day towards making the world a better place. 

“We just want peace; we want our children to enjoy their childhoods in peace,” She said to the Varkey Foundation.

Global citizens everywhere can follow Hanan in her incredibly brave and humble journey towards improving education for all. Taking action to make sure so that everyone has the opportunity to get the best education possible. Education opens doors to possibility and positive outcomes, even in conflict areas.  

Hanan is proving that with education comes a journey of growth in tomorrow’s leaders.

Hear what she has to say about her own journey: