When I established Mosaic back in 2007 it was my hope that we might be able to encourage young people in the United Kingdom to realize their talents and potential. I hardly dared hope then that Mosaic would go on to develop an innovative International Leadership Programme which now touches the lives of young people in eighteen different countries. I have long believed that today's world poses challenges to all of us that can only be resolved by effective and sustained partnerships across national boundaries. Climate change, poverty, violence and instability can only be tackled by individuals coming together from across the globe.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25th April left the country reeling, killing over 8,000 people, injuring more than 18,000 and leaving 2.8 million people without homes. There was much talk that this earthquake was expected, but it seems that no amount of preparedness will be enough to keep pace with the increasing disaster risk...
This week, the United Kingdom was declared the most LGBT-friendly place in Europe and yet there is one group of people in this country who have little to celebrate: LGBT asylum seekers. Five years ago, the Conservative Party promised that it would protect LGBT asylum seekers fleeing persecution. So far they have failed.
The news that Isis is possibly about to over-run Palmyra in Syria hit me especially hard. It feels strange to be so affected by the plight of a ruined town so far away, especially when you equate it to the hundreds of thousands of human victims of this murderous conflict but as Stalin so sensitively put it- "one death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic." Palmyra, on the other hand is a symbol- a symbol of a tolerant, multi-cultural Syria.
We should bear that fact in mind before denying our responsibilities in this crisis. Migration and asylum claims are part of our modern world and we need to be pro-active in international collaboration between countries of origin, transit and destination in order to preserve the right to seek international protection.
Progress of the World's Women shows that it is possible to close these gender gaps, in both rich and poor countries, with the right mix of economic and social policies. The evidence is abundant and the solutions are clear: stop penalizing women for having children, and start recognizing and supporting women's unpaid care work.
We have an opportunity in Nepal to apply the best of what we have learned globally to be a partner saving lives and enabling the Nepali people to rebuild their country. The coordination of some of the greatest humanitarian and development leadership of our time will not only save lives, it can lead to increased resilience for the Nepali people. This will require that we leave 'business as usual' by prioritising and funding education in this response. And we should leave it behind permanently by creating a Global Humanitarian Fund for Education in Emergencies and increasing our ability to rapidly respond, coordinate and deliver education in ways that save lives now and for many years to come.
Today we need to head into Kathmandu and towards the epicentre. Colleagues have children they need to see. And we need to be close to the epicentre to help manage our response. The reports coming in from rural districts around the epicentre are alarming. Our staff are telling us that many, many buildings have collapsed. Homes, schools, hospitals. The hope is that since the earthquake struck on Saturday lunchtime, casualties will be minimised as fewer people would have been in public buildings.
The drowning of 800 people in the Mediterranean is a crime against humanity, the ultimate responsibility for which lies not with the people traffickers operating the boats involved, as some assert, but Western governments that have destabilised the nations from which those refugees are so desperate to escape they are willing to risk their lives in the process.
We must continue to fight for the rights of workers everywhere by ensuring that no one should be coerced or forced into unsafe work - especially not children - because that is all that is available to them. The children of the Rana Plaza disaster should be managing the factories of the future and their children should have options that those brave men and women never dreamed of. We will not get there until we ensure that all children everywhere have access to an education.
The EU's focus is still on keeping people out, not keeping them safe. This approach is illegal, impractical, and immoral. Every person making this crossing is entitled to a fair hearing and protection if they are shown to be a refugee. Thursday's summit failed to acknowledge this, and will thus do little to end the humanitarian emergency on our doorstep.
This is a pan-European emergency, which requires a pan-European response. We need to reinstate the search and rescue operations immediately and this time it must be properly funded, including by the UK. It is completely unacceptable to refuse help when we know men, women and children are drowning in their hundreds.