Middle East

The origins of our foundation are in the Middle East and each year the region hosted our Global Education & Skills Forum, one of the world’s leading education conferences.

The Middle East is a hub for much of our international advocacy work and a meeting point for education expertise from around the globe.

Global Education & Skills Forum
Every year the Global Education & Skills Forum bought together leading figures from government, business and the education sector, with philanthropists and those at the forefront of the EdTech industry. Held between 2012-2019, in Dubai, UAE, and addresses some of the biggest challenges facing education, employment and equity.

Our Challenge Fund supports small, early-stage organisations that have the potential to make a big impact on the education sector. In the Middle East we have given grants to groups including Teacher Creativity Center (TCC), which runs the Arab Campaign for the Education of All (ACEA) and Jusoor, which works to give Syrian refugees in Lebanon a good education.

Global Teacher Prize and National Teacher Prizes
The culmination of our annual Global Education & Skills Forum is the Global Teacher Prize ceremony, where the Varkey Foundation awards one outstanding teacher a $1 million prize in recognition of their work changing the lives of students and their wider community. Teachers from the Middle East and North Africa regularly feature among our finalists, with Palestine-based Hanan al-Hroub taking home the prize in 2016.

As a foundation, we are also champion movements that work in support of teachers throughout the Middle East and North African region. This includes National Teacher Prizes in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine. We are supporting efforts to establish National Teacher Prizes across the region more widely.

Policy & Research
Building a bank of data and new research is key to tackling many of the challenges facing the education sector around the world. We have collected in-depth information mapping the attitudes of young people and their parents in the Middle East and North Africa with regards to education and teaching. Set against data collected worldwide, we have a clear picture of how the sector is perceived in the region, and how this compares with other countries.

We also believe in the power of uniting like-minded people to help spread learning, best practice and change education for the better. Our Atlantis Group brings together former education ministers, including from the Middle East and North Africa region, to help inform current policies and practising minsters. Meanwhile, the region is also represented in our Global Teacher Prize Ambassador community, a network of some of the best educators in the world.