A Palestinian teacher who grew up in a refugee camp and educates her students about non-violence won the second annual Global Teacher Prize, a $1 million prize for teaching excellence, beating out 8,000 applicants from around the world. Hanan al-Hroub, a primary school teacher in the West Bank just outside Ramallah, was presented the award by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, but her name was announced by Pope Francis in a video in which he talked about the importance of education and teachers, especially for children who grow up amid war. "I feel amazing and I still can't believe that the pope said my name," al-Hroub told the AP. "For an Arab, Palestinian teacher to talk to the world today and to reach the highest peak in teaching could be an example for teachers around the world."
She said she will use the million-dollar prize money to create scholarships for students who excel in order to encourage them to choose careers in teaching. Her win comes at a time of spiking tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. 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." In her acceptance speech, she reiterated her mantra of "No to violence" and stressed the importance of dialogue. "The Palestinian teacher can talk to the world now. Hand in hand we can effect change and provide a safe education to provide peace," she said. The inaugural Global Teacher Prize last year went to Nancie Atwell, an English teacher from rural Maine. (Read more Global Teacher Prize stories.)