Another Syrian refugee, nine year old Samar from Daraa, drew a woman who was smiling and crying at the same time, holding a flower in one hand while her other hand was missing. When Samar talked, she alternated between sharing the feelings of fear and hopelessness she experienced in Syria and the security and stability she is now feeling in Lebanon.
It's just after midnight in Tripoli, Lebanon. I'm on my way home from a lovely evening in Beirut with friends. I am nearly home. The streets are empty. Out of the car window I catch a glimpse of a little figure. A young boy leaning on a car with one hand, dozing off with a bunch of roses and gardenia flower chains in another...
Spam is ubiquitous today and the people behind these messages will find any excuse to persuade you to part with your cash. Most of us are familiar with the 'family-in-distress' tactic used by scammers over recent years and believe we have the edge on them. But now there is a new plot, a new story-line with new characters.
Last week I visited the Domiz refugee camp for the third time in six months and saw many children at school and play. Once again, I was struck by their cheeriness and resilience. I wanted to find some of the children I met in June but the camp has mushroomed since then from 50,000 to 75,000 so it would have been difficult.
On a geopolitical level, Russia and to a lesser extent China's support for Iran and Syria is part of a struggle against the West's objective of maintaining Washington's writ as leader of a unipolar world against a multipolar alternative in which Russia, China and the other BRIC group of developing economies enjoy parity... The stakes involved in the Syrian conflict, therefore, could not be higher.
Youth unemployment levels cannot be wholly improved without effective policy by national governments, nor education in our schools that needs to adapt to the requirements of the 21st century. Arguably, global business will struggle to become more responsible without an element of legislative steer too.
Forget what self-appointed experts might tell you or what political bureaucrats might suggest either! Just cast a quick look for yourself at the Middle East North Africa (MENA) map today. The inescapable conclusion - the revealing truth if you will - is that things are not going well at all. In fact, things are quite messy - and perilously so too.
When I discovered that my language degree required me to spend a year's study in the Middle East, I couldn't work out how I felt. Was it excitement or apprehension? Becoming an international student means many things; poor exchange rates, unfamiliar culture and language barriers are to name but a few.