Monday, September 20, 2021



Dubai, UAE – 9 September
Riadh Zammali, a PE teacher in
Abu Dhabi, UAE, has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Varkey
Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2021
in partnership with UNESCO.

Meanwhile, Lamya Butt, a
17-year-old student at Dubai Scholars Private School, UAE, has been included in
the top 50 shortlist for its new sister award, the Global Student
Prize 2021

Riadh, shortlisted for the
Global Teacher Prize 2021, was selected from over 8,000 nominations and applications from 121
countries around the world. Lamya, shortlisted for the Global Student Prize
2021, was selected from over 3,500 nominations and applications from 94
countries around the world.

Now in its seventh year, the US$1
million Global Teacher Prize is the largest prize of its kind, while the Global
Student Prize, which is in its inaugural year, will see the winning student
receive $100,000.

The Global Teacher Prize was
set up to recognise 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.

Varkey Foundation launched the Global Student Prize earlier this year
to create a powerful new platform to
highlight the efforts of extraordinary students throughout the
world that are making a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers
and on society beyond. The prize is open to all students who are at
least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and
skills programme. Part time students as well as students enrolled in online
courses are also eligible for the prize.

Together, the Global Teacher Prize
and the Global Student Prize will tell inspirational stories from both sides of
education. The prizes will shine a spotlight on the great work teachers do in
preparing young people for the future and the amazing promise the brightest
students are showing in their learning and far beyond.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey
Foundation, said:

“Congratulations to Riadh
and Lamya, for reaching the final 50. Their stories clearly
highlight the importance of education in tackling the great challenges ahead –
from climate change to growing inequality to global pandemics. It is only by
prioritising education that we can safeguard all our tomorrows. Education is
the key to facing the future with confidence.” is a supporter of the
Global Teacher Prize and has partnered with the Varkey Foundation to create the
new Global Student Prize
. Lila Thomas, Head of, said:

“In this age of COVID, students like Lamya have
shown great courage to keep studying and keep fighting for a better future
despite huge obstacles. The Global Student Prize has been launched to shine a
light on their stories and listen to their voices. After all, it is their
dreams, their insights and their creativity that will help solve some of the
greatest questions humanity has ever faced.

“Our finalists this year have a made a
huge impact in areas from the environment to equality and justice, from health
and wellbeing to education and skills, from youth empowerment to ending

“We were so inspired by the achievements
of these extraordinary students throughout the world that applied for the
inaugural Global Student Prize that Chegg chose to double the value of the
prize to $100,000.”

Riadh Zammali grew up passionate about helping school pupils
develop their skills and character through Physical Education (PE). Working in
rural areas of Tunisia, where there is little infrastructure or equipment to
practise PE, he nonetheless launched and led a number of PE school clubs, as
well as the first sports associations for girls. Later, at the Ghayathi Center
for Special Needs in the UAE, he introduced innovative new approaches to SEN
sports – and in 2019, he presented the Microsoft Educational Program for people
with disabilities for the first time in the region. As a result, Riadh’s
students have since won more than 100 national and international sports prizes.
His school has also forged new links throughout the region that will help it
integrate more SEN students,  winning
Best SEN Public Centre in Abu Dhabi for 2020-2021.  In 2020, Riadh won Best Teacher in Abu Dhabi public
centres for people with disabilities, and was additionally nominated for the
Mohamed bin Zayed Award for Best Gulf Teacher (for the final evaluation. If he
wins the Global Teacher Prize, Riadh will launch an association to support
children with disabilities by using specially adapted smart learning, augmented
and virtual reality tools.

Lamya Butt, a student at Dubai Scholars Private School, UAE, is
a student who does not take good education for granted. She pursues learning
with a zest – engaging in class discussions, taking leadership roles, and
reaching the top of her class. She is the first Teen Advisor from the UAE for
the United Nations Foundation Girl Up initiative and MENA Regional Leader.
Lamya is also the Founder and CEO of the youth initiative Resilient Together,
which works with international philanthropic organisations to provide ICT
devices for 20,000 UAE students forced into distance learning by COVID. Winning
the Global Student Prize would mean that she is able to fund her university
studies and expand Resilient Together into podcasts and video platforms.

Stefania Giannini, Assistant
Director General for Education at UNESCO, said:

“UNESCO is a proud
partner of the Global Teacher Prize, which has done so much to highlight
teachers’ transformational role in young people’s lives. Inspirational
teachers and extraordinary students alike deserve recognition for their
commitment to education amid the learning crisis we see today.

“If we are to rebuild
a better world in the wake of COVID we must prioritise giving every child their
birthright of a quality education. It is the next generation, with teachers as
their guide, who will safeguard the future for us all.”

Applications and nominations for this year’s teacher and student prizes
opened on Tuesday 2 February and closed on Sunday 16 May. Teachers who applied
for the Global Teacher Prize are being assessed on teaching practices, how they
innovate to address local challenges, achieve demonstrable learning outcomes,
impact the community beyond the classroom, help children become global
citizens, improve the teaching profession and gain recognition from external
bodies. The US$1m award was won last year by Indian village teacher Ranjitsinh

Students who applied for the Global Student Prize are being assessed on
their academic achievement, impact on their peers, how they make a difference
in their community and beyond, how they overcome the odds to achieve, how they
demonstrate creativity and innovation, and how they operate as global citizens.

Following today’s announcement, the top 10 finalists of both the Global
Teacher Prize and the Global Student Prize will be announced in October this
year. The winners of both prizes will be chosen from the respective top 10
finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy and the Global Student Prize
Academy, made up of prominent individuals. The winners are due to be announced
at an awards ceremony in Paris in November. 

If teachers or students were nominated, the person nominating them was
asked to write a brief description online explaining why.  The teacher or student being nominated was
then sent an email letting them know they had been nominated and inviting them
to apply for the prize.   Applicants were
able to apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and
Russian. To join the conversation online follow @TeacherPrize and @cheggdotorg

Related Posts


Stay Connected


Recent Stories