Safaa Obeid, UNRWA teacher in Jordan, is the winner of the Earth Prize Educator of the Year

© 2022 UNRWA Photo by Dima Ismail

Following the legacy of the original award, WEEC’s  Secretary-General, Professor Mario Salomone selected Ms Safaa Obeid , a teacher at the UNRWA Sweileh Preparatory Girls’ School in Jordan,  as the Earth Prize Educator of the Year and awarded a prize of US$ 12,500.

Ms. Obeid entered her students in the Earth Prize competition – an environmental sustainability competition for students between the ages of 13-19 – under the themes of concern to them as Palestine refugees in Jordan. These include, desertification of the Dead Sea by 2030, making camps more environmentally friendly and managing food waste in Jordan.

Ms. Obeid said:

“I am very proud to represent UNRWA in this international contest on environment sustainability and be awarded the “Educator of the Year” title. This amplifies my sense of responsibility towards my environment, my community and my students. I have been very keen to integrate environmental sustainability in the classroom by creating an enriching an environmental activity kit, which is user-friendly and easy to implement for the purpose of increasing my students’ awareness of environmental causes.”

In addition to Ms. Obeid’s students, 34 teams from 24 UNRWA schools and one vocational training centre registered their projects in the competition. Two UNRWA schools were named in the top 34 Earth Prize Scholar teams, namely the UNRWA Amqa Secondary Co-educational School in Lebanon and the UNRWA Gaza Training Centre, in Gaza.

The Earth Prize 2022 Educator of the year nominees were:

Pauline Herbommez, french teacher at Eton College, in Berkshire, England.  With other members of the school staff, Ms Herbommez helped create the Belkshire Schools Eco Network (BSEN) and the Environmental Action Group (E@E). The BSEN and E@E attended COP26.

Imani Hudaa, teacher at Raila Educational Centre in Kibra, Nairob, Kenya.  She has been involved in a number of school activities related the environment by encouraging learners to draw, act, dance and even write poetry about environment.

Ram Chandra Dahal, a faculty member at the Druk Gylalpo’s Institute in Bhutan. He believes that education is the key to making people live in coherence with nature and assume responsibility for its protection. At the school, he acts as a teacher, mentor, and the Coordinator for Emotional Area of Development.

Luc Arvisals, a teacher at Our Lady of the Snows in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. He has supported student work on a variety of projects: planning for rewilding of urban areas, institutionalising the use of aeroponic growing gardens at the school, fundraising for a solar testing system to gauge the economic viability of installing solar panels on the school.

Ruth Parry, has taught at the Institute Le Rosey in Switzerland for nine years. She has built links with over 20 local and international charities to support environmental and humanitarian issues, and has helped develop a whole school curriculum to support Service Learning projects and skill development.

Laurence Myers is the K-12 Service Learning Coordinator at the American School of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He supports student work on a variety of projects including the elimination of plastic water bottles, composting all landscaping and food waste, and establishing school-wide sustainability goal. He provides training and support educators in using systems-thinking for sustainability.