A school teacher working in an indigenous community in the remote Canadian Arctic has been awarded a US $1million (£803,000) global teaching prize for her work helping to reduce teenage suicide rates.
The Global Teacher Prize is an annual award presented 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.
Maggie MacDonnell, who teaches at the Ikusik School in Salluit, a remote Inuit village, was commended for her achievements within the local community, where harsh conditions are a significant barrier to education.
Ms MacDonnell has worked to improve the health and life chances of an isolated community of young Inuit people who have faced deprivation - and she spoke of the impact on the community of high levels of youth suicides.
She described how it felt to be a teacher after the suicide of a student.
"As a teacher, when I come to school the morning after, there is an empty desk in that classroom. There is stillness and silence," she told the award ceremony.
Ms MacDonnell said the memory of such deaths haunted her and she wanted the prize to cast light on the problem.
Her approach focused on emphasizing "acts of kindness," such as running a community kitchen and attending suicide prevention training.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was on hand to present the prize to MacDonnell, who made the trip for the award ceremony with several of her former students.
Her name was announced by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet in a video message from the International Space Station.
MacDonnell said she plans to use the prize money to continue helping the community in Salluit by establishing an environmental stewardship program to reconnect youth with many of their cultural traditions. She said she hopes the award brings attention to the indigenous communities of Canada and “ideally that they be treated with the dignity that they deserve.”