Greek-Cypriot teacher Andria Zafirakou has been chosen as the world’s best educator at an award ceremony held in Dubai.
Zafirakou, who teaches arts and textiles at the Alperton Community School in Brent, U.K., won the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize on Sunday, accompanied by a cash sum of $1 million.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton were among the attendees in the ceremony.
Where 38-year-old Zafirakou teaches in north London is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the U.K., with 130 languages spoken in its schools.
Zafirakou learned to greet her students in 35 languages, since a large percentage of children attending school have difficulty speaking English. Among the languages she has learned are Portuguese, Hindi, Tamil, Arabic, Romanian, Polish and Italian.