A primary school teacher from El Bireh, in territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority, won a $1 million prize for teaching excellence on Sunday, beating out 8,000 other applicants from around the world.
Hanan al-Hroub, who educates her students about non-violence, was awarded the second annual Global Teacher Prize during a ceremony in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Her name was announced by none other than Pope Francis in a video message, in which he also spoke about the importance of education and teachers for children who grow up amid war.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum presented the prize to al-Hroub, who stressed the importance of dialogue and non-violence in her acceptance speech.
"The Palestinian teacher can talk to the world now. Hand in hand we can affect change and provide a safe education to provide peace," she told the AP.
As blogger Elder of Ziyon noticed, however, AP also reported that as al-Hroub accepted her award, “Palestinians in the audience waved their country's flag and some chanted, fists pumping in the air, 'With our souls, our blood, we sacrifice for you Palestine.'"
“That is a war chant,” noted the blogger, "used throughout the Middle East to incite violence… Palestinians' natural reaction to having someone win a prize for teaching non-violence was to shout war slogans.”