The destruction of Syrian chemical weapons (CW) has started. In a breakthrough moment in Iran-US relations, the two Presidents talked on the phone and the foreign ministers sat down to discuss Iran's nuclear programme. Though the connection has received little comment in the western news media, these two welcome developments are deeply linked and close to inter-dependent.
Today the UN International Day of the Girl is focusing on girls across the globe who are out of education. It's thought around 17 million girls will never enroll in school - and millions more are unable to complete their education due to factors such as cultural barriers, sexual harassment and, like Adla and Cibar, the consequences of humanitarian emergencies.
The agreement brokered between the USA and Russia on the transfer and destruction of Syria's chemical weapons by mid 2014 is not just ambitious, but almost certainly unachievable... The logistical challenge of disarming a regime of chemical weapons whilst it is fighting a brutal civil war are extremely daunting.
Syria is the greatest refugee crisis of our time. The numbers are shocking. More than two million refugees have spilled into neighbouring countries, over half of whom are children. The UK's response to date has been serious and substantial... But given the scale and the gravity of the tragedy unfolding across the region, financial assistance alone will not be enough.
For charities working in war zones or countries hit by acts of terrorism, the world can be a dangerous and difficult place. Charities dealing with the humanitarian effects of conflict or political upheaval face the task of making sure help goes to the people who need it most, while not inadvertently supporting armed groups or those involved in terrorism...
A year ago, almost to the day, I visited a refugee settlement on the Syria border, and it changed everything for me... Nothing prepared me for what I found a year ago. Instead of a population in need of aid, I found families outraged by the international silence surrounding the brutality of the conflict they had fled.
When we think of a humanitarian emergency, we don't necessarily think first of education. We think of immediate, life-saving needs, like clean water, health care and shelter. Of course, in Syria and across the region, these supplies and services are absolutely vital for children and families living with the daily consequences of conflict and displacement. However, learning is just as urgent. Almost two million Syrian children have been forced to drop out of school over the past year. For refugee children, being in school offers a safe space to remember that they are children, to feel hope for the future, to play and to begin the process of healing the emotional damage of all they have experienced.
I stood in the Frontline Club behind the podium, staring at the row of faces I was asking for money. Behind me on a projector ran a constant loop of harrowing images from the Syrian war - the dead, the wounded, the broken cities; young men with gasmasks to protect against chemical weapons attacks, women and children forced to leave their homes, huddled, hundreds to a room in the foreign lands where they've been forced to take refuge.