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Maggie MacDonnell, a Canadian school teacher, from Quebec was awarded on Sunday the annual Global Teacher Prize worth $1 million for teaching excellence by surpassing thousands of applicants from around the world, media reports said.
Her name for the award was announced by the French astronaut Thomas Pasquet in a video message from the International Space Station.
The award was presented by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during a ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
MacDonnell was among 10 finalists who flew to Dubai to attend the ceremony. The nine others were from Pakistan, the UK, Jamaica, Spain, Germany, China, Kenya, Australia and Brazil.
MacDonnell had been using innovative classroom practices and encouraging others to join the teaching profession.
MacDonnell’s determination and courage to teach for six years in a remote Arctic village called Salluit, an Inuit indigenous community in Quebec where many teachers left midway, led to her being selected for the award.
MacDonnell’s teaching philosophy was full of hope and acts of kindness and she was responsible was for creating a number of programs for boys and girls, including job mentorship and funds to assist with healthy meals, establishment of a fitness centre for youth and adults in the local community, for running a community kitchen and attending suicide prevention training.
"The memory that continues to haunt me is when I see these Canadian teenagers, their very own classmates of the deceased, literally digging the grave," she said. "I didn't know until I came to Salluit that that was a Canadian reality, " CBCNews reports said.
The prize which was established by the Varkey Foundation three years ago in recognition of outstanding contribution of one teacher a year.
15 other countries, including Chile, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Portugal, Somalia, Ukraine and Yemen, announced on Sunday that with the support of the Varkey Foundation they would launch national teaching prizes.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image of Maggie MacDonnell