Canadian wins $1M global teacher prize for work with Inuit

Canadian school teacher Maggie MacDonnell receives the Global Teacher Prize from Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, March 19, 2017. (AP)
Updated 20 March 2017

Canadian wins $1M global teacher prize for work with Inuit

DUBAI: A Canadian school teacher who encourages 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 high-profile awards for teaching excellence.
Maggie MacDonnell was awarded the annual Global Teacher Prize during a ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, beating out thousands of applicants from around the world.
She has worked for the past six years in a remote Arctic village called Salluit teaching middle and high schoolers. According to her biography, Salluit is home to the second-northernmost Inuit indigenous community in Quebec, with a population of just over 1,300, and can only be reached by air.
Speaking to The Associated Press after her win, MacDonnell said she plans to use the prize money to continue helping the community in Salluit by establishing an environmental stewardship program to reconnect youth with many of their cultural traditions.
She said she hopes the award brings attention to the indigenous communities of Canada and “ideally that they be treated with the dignity that they deserve.”
Her perseverance to continue teaching in the remote area, where many teachers leave their post midway through the year, made her a standout for the award. MacDonnell created a number of programs for boys and girls, including job mentorship and funds to assist with healthy meals. Her approach focuses on encouraging “acts of kindness,” such as running a community kitchen and attending suicide prevention training.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was on hand to present the prize to MacDonnell. Her name was announced by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet in a video message from the International Space Station.
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.
MacDonnell was among many finalists flown to Dubai to attend the ceremony. The top ten finalists included teachers from Pakistan, the UK, Jamaica, Spain, Germany, China, Kenya, Australia and Brazil.
Among her many efforts, MacDonnell also established a fitness center for youth and adults in the local community, where drug use and alcoholism rates are high due to the region’s harsh winters and isolation.
She talked about the 10 suicides that took place during her time in the small village, including six young men between the ages of 18 and 25 in 2015 alone.
“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.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered his congratulations to the teacher in a special video message broadcast saying: “Maggie MacDonnell – on behalf of all Canadians – from one teacher to another – congratulations on winning the Global Teacher Prize 2017.
“I’d like to say thank you to every teacher out there. Teachers owe responsibilities to many people – to students, to parents, to the community, the school board. But in the end, as all great teachers know – they are ultimately responsible to something far greater.”

Last year, Palestinian teacher Hanan Al-Hroub won for her efforts in encouraging students to renounce violence and embrace dialogue. The inaugural prize went to Nancie Atwell, an English teacher from Maine.
The award is presented by the Varkey Foundation. Its founder, Sunny Varkey, established the for-profit GEMS Education company, which has more than 250 schools around the world.
The foundation’s CEO, Vikas Pota, said in a statement that the award aims to shine a spotlight on great teachers and share their stories with the world.
Also Sunday, 15 countries, including Chile, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Portugal, Somalia, Ukraine and Yemen, announced they would launch national teaching prizes with the support of the Varkey Foundation.

 

— With input from AP


Models Gigi, Bella Hadid walk designer Gaultier’s last fashion show

Jean-Paul Gaultier took his final bow of a 50-year career in the industry at the Paris Fashion Week. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2020

Models Gigi, Bella Hadid walk designer Gaultier’s last fashion show

  • Part-Palestinian sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid were among the big names walking his last haute couture runway, the models wearing Gaultier’s latest designs from his Spring 2020 collection

DUBAI: French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier on Wednesday took his final bow of a 50-year career in the industry at the Paris Couture Week.

Part-Palestinian sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid were among the big names walking his last haute couture runway, the models wearing Gaultier’s latest designs from his Spring 2020 collection.

Gigi was dressed in a sailor’s outfit featuring a striped bodysuit with white wide-leg trousers and sailor hat. (AFP)

Gigi was dressed in a sailor’s outfit featuring a striped bodysuit with white wide-leg trousers and sailor hat.

Bella wore a strapless peacock-like black dress which the stylists paired with boots and gloves.

Bella wore a strapless peacock-like black dress which the stylists paired with boots and gloves. (AFP)

Gaultier shared a video on his Instagram this week inviting his followers to attend the show and celebrate the end of his half-century career with him. “It is going to be a party with my friends, and we are going to have fun until very, very late.”

He then went on to announce his farewell. “Now I am going to share something with you. This will be my last haute couture show. Be there! You can’t miss this,” he said. “However, stay tuned, Gaultier Paris will go on. The haute couture continues. I have a new concept and I will tell you about it later.”