United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Director-General signs an agreement establishing the “UNESCO-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for outstanding practice and performance in enhancing the effectiveness of teachers”

On 13 March 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, and Dr Hanif Hassan Ali, Minister of Education of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing the “UNESCO-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for outstanding practice and performance in enhancing the effectiveness of teachers”.

The signature ceremony was held at UNESCO Headquarters in the presence of Mr Abdullah Nasser Sultan Al-Amri, UAE Ambassador to France, Mr Abdullah Musabh, Permanent Delegate of the UAE to UNESCO, and a large number of ambassadors from the Arab region, including the President of the Arab Group at UNESCO, Mrs Sylvie Fadlallah, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Lebanon to UNESCO.

The signature ceremony began with a video message by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who expressed his appreciation for the growing partnership between the UAE and UNESCO, as well as his satisfaction with the creation of this Prize.

Every two years, the Prize will reward three candidates from around the world who have shown an outstanding achievement in enhancing the performance and effectiveness of teachers in developing countries or within marginalized or disadvantaged communities. These candidates may be Member States, Ministries of Education or other related Ministries, international or national non-governmental organizations, institutions, or local, national, or regional communities. Each of the three winners shall be rewarded with US$90,000.

The Director-General thanked H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum for his generosity in the establishment of this Prize and for his continued support of UNESCO’s work in education.

Mr Matsuura reiterated the importance of rewarding bodies that have made an outstanding contribution to improving the quality of teaching. “Promoting quality in education and building the capacity of teachers to improve teaching outcomes are of the utmost importance. This Prize will help boost international efforts to achieve the 6 Education for All goals”, he declared.

The Director-General also noted with pleasure that in addition to the Prize, the MoU will further expand the excellent collaboration between UNESCO and the UAE. The agreement will facilitate cooperation in support of a broader work in teacher education, including the Teacher Training Initiative for sub-Saharan Africa (TTISSA), quality assurance, as well as in other priority areas for UNESCO’s work in education, such as literacy, secondary education, and technical and vocational education and training.

For his part, Dr Hanif Hassan Ali, Minister of Education of the UAE, explained how important this event was for the UAE and declared his country’s commitment to increasing cooperation with UNESCO. Stating that “teachers are the most important element in education”, he argued that this Prize will send a message to the international community of how crucial the role of the teacher is to achieving quality education for all.

Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 039-2009 -  Publication Date: 13-03-2009

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