About The Global Teacher Prize

About The Global Teacher Prize

The Global Teacher Prize is a US $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

The prize serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated. It seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers – not only on their students but on the communities around them.

Why teachers?

Lack of education is a major factor behind many of the social, political, economic and health issues faced by the world today. We believe education has the power to reduce poverty, prejudice and conflict.

The status of teachers in cultures across the world is critically important to our global future; #teachersmatter.

You can find out more about why we believe teacher status is so important here.

Our aim is to change the way the world looks at teachers

Who is behind the Global Teacher Prize?

The Global Teacher Prize is awarded by the Varkey Foundation under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Emir of Dubai.


The Global Teacher Prize 2016

The top 10 finalists for the 2016 prize were announced on 17th February. Hanan Al Hroub was announced as the winner in an evening ceremony on 13th March 2016 at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.

The Global Teacher Prize 2017

The top 10 finalists for the 2017 prize were announced on 21st February. Maggie MacDonnell was announced as the winner in an evening ceremony on the 19th March 2017 at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.

How is the prize judged?

The Global Teacher Prize Judging Academy includes public officials, head teachers, academics, journalists, entrepreneurs, company directors, scientists and entertainment industry figures from around the world. They share the common goal of shining a spotlight on the great work that teachers do and use a comprehensive list of judging criteria. To ensure fairness and transparency, the process is overseen by PwC.

The Origins of the Global Teacher Prize

In 2013, the Varkey Foundation commissioned Populus, the leading research and strategy consultancy, to gather in-depth opinions from 21 countries to explore attitudes about the teaching profession. The survey covered areas such as teachers’ salaries, students’ attitudes towards educators and how participants rated their own education systems.

The results, published as the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Status Index, formed the first comprehensive attempt to compare the status of teachers across the world. For the first time, concrete evidence was presented by a rigorous study that provided an accurate picture of how teachers were viewed across the world.

In many countries, it was clear that the profession’s status had dropped. While it wasn’t exclusively bad news, the findings shocked Sunny Varkey, the Varkey Foundation’s Chairman, whose parents had both been teachers. He founded the Global Teacher Prize as a response with the aim of raising the profession’s profile.

Who won the inaugural prize?

In 2015, at the Global Education and Skills ForumNancie Atwell was announced as the winner from the top 10 outstanding finalists and presented with the first ever Global Teacher Prize.

Nancie donated the $1m award to the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the school she founded in Maine, USA, to support underprivileged learners.

Global Teacher Prize 2015 winner

 Global Teacher Prize: the impact

We believe the Global Teacher Prize is making a real difference to the profession and having a very positive effect at both a grassroots level and on the global stage.

In the prize’s inaugural year, there were over 5,000 entries from 127 countries which generated a huge amount of media interest. Local reporting around the world has been tremendously supportive of the shortlisted teachers while a host of high profile endorsers including Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abduallah of Jordan, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair have been very vocal in their encouragement.

Coverage of Nancie’s win has been widespread and has changed not only her life but the lives of her students.

With the announcement of the top 10 finalists for the 2016 Global Teacher Prize, the way the profession is presented in the media has continued to evolve.

Global Teacher Prize - Pope with teachers

The 2018 Global Teacher Prize

Applications for the 2018 prize will open online in June 2017.

Our partners

PwC - Global Teacher PrizeWe are proud to have the support of PwC and of the integrity this affords our judging process. Find out more about PwC and our methodology here.


Please take a look at our Press page to find out more about the Global Teacher Prize and our campaign to raise the profile of the profession.

For promotional materials, click here.


Get Teacher Prize Updates

Connect With Us

From the Blog

Global Teacher Prize Inspires Over 20 National Teacher Prizes

Global Teacher Prize Inspires Over 20 National Teacher Prizes

The success of the Varkey Foundation’s US $1M Global Teacher Prize, now celebrating its third year of success, has inspired National Teacher Prizes in over 20 nations. Colombia was the first country to start its own prize, with the backing and support of the Varkey Foundation. And since the [...]

Read More

Meet the Global Teacher Prize Winner 2017

Meet the Global Teacher Prize Winner 2017

In one of the world’s most remote regions, surrounded by snow and ice, Maggie McDonnell is changing the lives of her students and transforming her community. The winner of the Global Teacher Prize Winner 2017 lives and works in Salluit, an Inuit village deep in the Canadian Arctic. The [...]

Read More

These are the 10 best teachers in the world

These are the 10 best teachers in the world

We’ve all had teachers who have inspired us, who have made a difference to our lives. Teachers have the power to make or break lives. A great lesson can inspire a passion for a subject that lasts a lifetime, while lacklustre teaching can kill any desire for learning. Teachers who make a [...]

Read More