Hugh Jackman calls teachers the 'real superheroes' as he announces the final 10 for US $1 million Global Teacher Prize 2019

21 Feb 2019 |

Hugh Jackman announces top 10 finalists in a powerful tribute to the work of teachers around the world

The top 10 finalists for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019 were announced today by movie star Hugh Jackman at globalteacherprize.org. Now in its fifth year, the US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind.

In a special video message announcing the top ten finalists, the Wolverine and Greatest Showman star paid a powerful tribute to the work of teachers around the world. He highlighted his family members who had entered the profession and spoke fondly and with affection of the acting teacher who helped him raise his game.

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 and Drama teacher, at Lavad Primary School, Gujarat and schools across 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.

Hugh Jackman said:

“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.

“My favourite uncle was a teacher, my sister’s a teacher, my brother’s a teacher, and I have always felt the most important job in the world is teachers. My hope for every single person on the planet is that you have at least one.

“All of us go through insecurity and doubt, trepidation, along this journey of life, and those teachers that see the best in us and are patient enough to allow us to grow into that, they are like gold.”

Hugh Jackman added:

“Since the launch of the Global Teacher Prize in Dubai UAE 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.”

The finalists have been selected from over 10,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries around the world. Separate to this, 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 recognize 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. In this way the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of teachers all over the world.

The top 10 have been narrowed down from a top 50 shortlist that was announced in December 2018. By highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers. The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday 24 March 2019.

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 Saturday 23rd March ten thousand 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.


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”

The original top 50 shortlisted teachers were narrowed down to ten finalists by a Prize Committee. The winner will be chosen from this 10 by the Global Teacher Prize Academy. All 10 finalists will be invited to Dubai for the Award ceremony at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) on Sunday 24 March, where the winner will be announced live on stage in a red carpet gala event.