After watching endless reels of heartbreaking footage emerging from inside Syria and hearing that at least 100,000 men, women and children have now died since unrest began, the question of "how can I help?" has run through many people's minds. This weekend I had the honour of seeing a collection of young people who are answering that question with action.
The eyes of the world are focused on the UN in New York this week in an amazing turnabout in international politics. We could have been in the midst of a Middle East war with the US and France having attacked Syria, triggering resumed fighting across the border of southern Lebanon and Israel. Instead, the UN is back on centre stage, the Security Council is functioning again, and its five permanent powers are in a constructive dialogue over chemical weapons in Syria for the first time in two and a half years.
A strong Kenya is a regional and geostrategic priority given the challenge of security in Somalia and the Greater Horn, and the general economic rise of Africa. The case that supporters of the ICC and those who argue for ever-greater expansion of its mandate need to demonstrate is one of working with the grain of a complex world, not against it.
Whether physically in power or not, Labour's reckless spending and their promises for the future tell me many things. One of these is that somewhere between the election in 2010 and present day 2013, the last person in their policy department forgot to turn out the lights before leaving and locking the door behind them.
When Katie Frazer married her South African husband Cliff Frazer in 2010, she had no idea how difficult it would be to bring him to live with her in the UK. The 31-year-old trained primary school teacher is living thousands of miles from her beloved in the UK after falling victim to the government's recently introduced £18,600 salary requirement to bring a non-EU spouse to the UK.
For two years the humanitarian drive in Syria has been hobbled by the same division, fatigue and confusion that has afflicted the political effort to stop the civil war. Aid appeals have been ignored; access for aid denied; aid workers targeted. Now there are signs of new political cooperation over chemical weapons, and even talk of a revived negotiating process to end the war. They need to be matched by an urgent humanitarian surge - inside Syria and beyond.
While the US-Russian deal to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons is a welcome sign that diplomacy has a central part to play in this crisis, the retreat from early talk of military action also suggests a growing reluctance on the part of the US and UK to intervene directly in the Middle East. Whether this is a good or a bad thing, it is certainly something new.
What dictators in that region can't fathom is how a democracy works. How President Obama could back down on the use of force because the American people and their congressional representatives didn't want another Middle East war. Such populist power is unknown in Arab countries. Yet it would be a big mistake to hold the view the US has chickened -out of the fray.
Hearing about atrocities and suffering halfway across the world doesn't tend to hit close to home. The people feel distant and the language is foreign; it's too far. Standing at the edge of the Za'atari camp in Jordan listening to the sound of explosions from just across the border in Syria, suddenly it didn't feel so far anymore.