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Dubai: The top 10 finalists for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize were announced on Thursday by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman at globalteacherprize.org. Now in its fifth year, the $1 million (Dh3.67 million) award is the largest prize of its kind and is awarded under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Finalists were selected from over 10,000 nominees and applications from 179 countries around the world. Apart from these, there have also been tens of thousands of applications for the 33 National Teacher Prizes that have been inspired by the Global Teacher Prize. The winners of each National Teacher Prize were also put forward for consideration when the top 50 shortlist for this year’s global prize was decided.

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.

The top 10 were narrowed down from a shortlist of 50 in December. The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on March 24.

In a special video message announcing the top 10 finalists, Jackman said: “I would like to give special thanks to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad under whose continued patronage the Global Teacher Prize has become a shining beacon to teachers around the world.”

The Wolverine star also spoke fondly and with affection of the acting teacher who helped him raise his game.

“When I was a kid there were lots of superheroes that I wanted to be. But I can tell you right now, from where I stand, with all my experience, the real superheroes are teachers – they’re the ones that change the world,” he said.

As well as crediting Shaikh Mohammad, he said: “I would also like to thank Sunny Varkey and the Varkey Foundation for giving us such a powerful celebration of the work of teachers and their commitment to education throughout the world.

“Since the launch of the Global Teacher Prize in Dubai just five years ago it has gone on to inspire over 30 national teacher prizes, unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives.

To our 10 finalists and to every dedicated teacher around the world – thank you.

- Hugh Jackman

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize, said: “I want to congratulate the top 10 finalists who have made it through from such a huge number of talented and dedicated teachers. I hope their stories will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world every day.

“The thousands of nominations and applications we received from every corner of the planet is testimony to the achievements of teachers and the enormous impact they have on all of our lives.”

On the eve of the Global Teacher Prize ceremony, the Varkey Foundation will hold ‘The Assembly: A Global Teacher Prize Concert’ as a joyful ‘thank you’ to teachers all around the world for the unsung work they do every day. On March 23, 10,000 people are expected to join Little Mix, who are headlining the event, together with Rita Ora and Liam Payne, at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre in paying tribute to one of the world’s most important professions.

All 10 finalists will be invited to Dubai for the Award ceremony at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) on March 24, where the winner will be announced live on stage in a red carpet gala event.

Further information about the top 10 finalists is available on http://www.globalteacherprize.org.

Follow #TeachersMatter on: https://twitter.com/TeacherPrize and https://www.facebook.com/teacherprize for more details.

The 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2019 are:

● Andrew Moffat MBE, a Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) teacher from Parkfield Community School, Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom

● Daisy Mertens, an all subjects teacher at community-based school De Vuurvogel, Helmond, Netherlands

● Débora Garofalo a Technologies for Learning teacher at EMEF Almirante Ary Parreiras, São Paulo, Brazil

● Hidekazu Shoto, an English language and ICT teacher at Ritsumeikan Primary School, Kyoto, Japan

● Martin Salvetti, Head of Automative Studies and Adult Professional Training, at EEST N°5 “2 de Abril” Temperley, Temperley, Buenos Aires, Argentina

● Melissa Salguero, a music teacher at P.S.48 Joseph R Drake elementary school, the Bronx, New York, United States

● Peter Tabichi, a maths and physics teacher at Keriko Secondary School, Pwani Village, Nakuru, Kenya

● Swaroop Rawal, a life skills teacher, at Lavad Primary School, Gujarat, India

● Vladimer Apkhazava, a civic education teacher at Chibati Public School, Tbilisi, Georgia

● Yasodai Selvakumaran a history and society and culture teacher, at Rooty Hill High School, New South Wales, Australia