Canadian school teacher awarded $1 million Global Teaching Prize

Published: 11:20 GMT, Mar 20, 2017 |

Canadian school teacher Maggie MacDonnell was awarded the prestigious $1 million Global Teaching Prize in Dubai on Sunday (March 19) for her work helping native Inuit students in the remote and wind-swept Quebec village of Salluit, where youth suicide had become a problem.

The young teacher beat out some 200,000 other nominees for the annual prize, which it said was among the most coveted awards for teaching excellence.

Among her recognised achievements, MacDonnell helped set up a fitness centre for her students, a community kitchen for the village and promoted attendance at suicide prevention classes.

MacDonnell said she intends to use the $1 million prize money to promote environmental awareness among Inuit youth, adding that they are tied to the land and therefore affected deeply by environmental change.

Her teaching philosophy underscores hope and acts of kindness in an isolated corner of Quebec won a $1-million prize Sunday in what has become one of the most-coveted and high-profile awards for teaching excellence.

The prize was established three years ago to recognize one exceptional teacher a year who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession, employs innovative classroom practices and encourages others to join the teaching profession.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his congratulations in a video message that was broadcast at the event.

“On behalf of all Canadians, from one teacher to another, congratulations on winning the Global Teacher Prize 2017,” the message began.

“You have done extraordinary things in exceptional circumstances and have showed enormous heart, will and imagination,” said Trudeau, a former teacher.