Research shows that if you empower a woman, you empower a family, a community, and indeed a nation. This is because women invest 90% of what they earn back into their families' health and education, making a lasting difference. Yet while there are so many smart and hard-working women out there, many of them struggle in particular with access to banks and loans. Today, more than 2.5 billion adults in the developing world are considered 'financially excluded'. This means that they do not have access to basic financial services, such as savings, bank accounts, or credit. The majority are women.
Since launching 14 years ago, The Asian Achievers Awards has helped raise millions of pounds for charity, as well as give a platform to high achieving individuals, who would but be overlooked by the mainstream..
GQ's decision to present the award of philanthropist of the year to Tony Blair represents an absolute nadir in the vision of the magazine. We can only surmise that the decision to confer the honour was made for reasons of publicity and to court controversy.
No, I've not lost my marbles - not yet anyway. I really do believe that if Scotland vote 'Yes' next Thursday in the Independence Referendum it will be the best thing that has happened to the Labour Party in decades. And I'm predicting a narrow win for Alex Salmond.
I followed up concerns I had expressed at that meeting with a letter to Blair on 12 November, arguing that there had to be a political strategy involving the Kurds to help topple Saddam Hussein. Blair replied: 'We are not working to bring down Saddam Hussein and his regime. It is not for us to say who should be President of Iraq, however much we might prefer to see a different government in Baghdad.' This exchange encapsulated the UK's particular problem...
The list could go on but I hope next time you think about calling Tony Blair a Warmongering toff who only cares about himself and his vast personal fortune, remember my points and the 10 grueling years he gave to turn a nation on its knees around in order to give you an me a better quality of life.
We are in the midst of a geopolitical crisis in Africa and the Middle East. It is acutely felt by communities of faith who suffer a new barbarism as they watch their hallowed values drowned in blood. But it is no less a crisis for international commitments to human rights.
Do you want my alternative, semi-serious take on our battle against Isis, David Cameron's birthday wish and Tony Blair's latest award? Here's the political week in 60 seconds.
If we continue to feed this monster it will become much more problematic to defeat. Our leaders and the public who oppose military intervention now will only be repeating the mistakes we made in the 1930's by not stopping the Nazis before they became too powerful to stop quickly and effectively causing catastrophic loss of life totaling 60 million civilians and soldiers.
In Iraq, right now, an ancient culture is being exterminated, wiped from the face of human history. The Yazidi minority had, until recently, found relative safe haven in Kurdish-controlled areas... However, recent reversals have forced both the Iraqi and Kurdish governments to withdraw their forces from the region, as ISIS continued its murderous advance across the north and west of the country.
Where does Ed Miliband sit, then, in comparison with other recent leaders of the opposition? On some measures, the leader with the most similar figures is Michael Howard. Ed Miliband scores better than William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, but this is hardly comforting news.
Do you want my alternative, semi-serious take on the latest Ed Miliband leadership 'crisis', Jeremy Paxman's retirement, Boris Johnson's birthday and Tony Blair's bizarre intervention on Iraq? All while doing keepy-uppy in honour of our (awful) England team in Brazil? Here's the political week in 60 seconds.
Some people like sport. Some do not. Neither is incorrect. But until Big Bang Theory retakes its place as the sole TV omnipotent, the World Cup is impossible to avoid. Although thanks to good-spirited wombling Japanese fans, at least you won't trip over it's mess.
In an era of dreary politicians, the silver-tongued Blair continues to beguile us. He is the Cristiano Ronaldo of politics: slick, skilful, über-confident and astonishingly arrogant... Is he mad or bad? Deluded or dishonest? It no longer matters. Blair's reputation lies in tatters. More than half of Brits believe their former prime minister was wrong to invade Iraq; one in five tell YouGov they think he should be tried as a war criminal. Blair can try to pretend he lives a normal life but when he goes to a book signing, people pelt him with eggs
Whereas Cheney could once rely on the Republican hierarchy and a US national media to take note, now the former vice president is now forced to scramble for hits on YouTube, his inane ramblings on foreign policy, the Obama administration and the crisis in Iraq competing unsuccessfully with the latest J-Lo album teaser and a video on how dogs react to humans barking.
Sadly and quite tragically the prospect of a Brazil-Argentinean world cup football final appears far less enticing than the greatest battle for decades that is about to kickoff just north of Baghdad between the Sunni's and the Shias.