Prince Harry pays tribute to teachers in a video message as top ten finalists are announced

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Ten finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2017, awarded under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, have been announced

Now in its third year, the US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind, and was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.

The ten finalists for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2017 are:

 Salima Begum, Headteacher at Elementary College for Women Gilgit, Pakistan David Calle, from Madrid, Spain, the founder and creator of the Unicoos educational website

Wemerson da Silva Nogueira, a science teacher at the Escola Antônio dos Santos Neves in Boa Esperança, Brazil

Marie-Christine Ghanbari Jahromi, a physical education, maths and German teacher at Gesamtschule Gescher school, Gescher, Germany

Tracy-Ann Hall, an automotive technology teacher at Jonathan Grant High School in Spanish Town, Jamaica

Maggie MacDonnell, a teacher at Ikusik School, Kativik School Board, Canadian Arctic

Ken Silburn, a science teacher at Casula High School, south-west Sydney, Australia

Yang Boya, a psychology teacher at The Affiliated Middle School of Kunming Teachers College, Yunnan province, China

Michael Wamaya, a dance teacher from Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya

Raymond Chambers, a computer science teacher from Brooke Weston Academy in Corby, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

 In a video message, Prince Harry paid tribute to the work of teachers around the world on the day the top ten finalists were announced. Prince Harry said:

“In addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, the very best teachers go beyond the pages of textbooks to teach young people about determination, aspiration, resilience and compassion. We will all face setbacks and challenges in our lives and our teachers play a vital role in preparing us for these ups and downs.

 “The finalists for this year’s Global Teacher Prize are from every corner of the world – from the Canadian Arctic to Kenya and Pakistan.  But there’s one thing they all have in common – they spark curiosity within a child and nurture the dreams that can change our world for the better.  

“I would also like to thank His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his continued support of the teaching profession and the patronage of this prize.

“I would like to end by congratulating all of the finalists; you are not just exceptional teachers, you are the role models who support, inspire and shape children’s lives. Your work is so important; I don’t believe it is an exaggeration to say that you are shaping the future.”

The top ten have been narrowed down from 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries around the world. By highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers. The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday, 19 March 2017.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said:

 “I want to congratulate all of the top ten finalists from such a huge number of talented and dedicated teachers. I hope their stories will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world every day.

 “The thousands of nominations and applications we received from every corner of the planet is testimony to the achievements of teachers and the enormous impact they have on all of our lives.”

 Further information about the top 10 shortlist will be available from 22 February here: To join the conversation online follow #TeachersMatter on: and