This government has made no secret of its strong support for the Commonwealth. But no institution today can be complacent. People rightly want to know why institutions exist and what they achieve. The European Union is familiar with this sort of scrutiny - and in recent times, the UK and others across Europe have been asking how it can become more competitive, more flexible and more democratically accountable. The Commonwealth's challenge is very different. It has to explain to all of us how it can be relevant to us in a 21st century world, a world of competing bodies and organisations covering every area of international activity.
Increasingly the attention on girls and women at the heart of social and economic development means that how girls are educated and what skills women bring to the workplace come to the fore. I have just returned from a remote and rural part of northern Ghana where I travelled with Sport Relief to see how the education projects they support - Voluntary Service Overseas and Afrikids, are making a difference for marginalised and vulnerable children.
Given the precarious legal and constitutional framework on which the current status of Crimea has been built since the Soviet period, a purely legal "solution" taking recourse to past institutional arrangements is unlikely to be possible or even desirable. What is required is first and foremost a political decision and a commitment to put it on a sound legal and constitutionally as well as internationally agreed basis.
When I visited a refugee registration centre in Lebanon recently, I heard stories of young children who have been through shocking experiences. Syrian boys and girls have fled conflict, lost their homes and watched friends and family members being killed. And now these children are facing another threat - the often hidden horror of sexual violence.
Forget about Putin. His personality is way too fascinating - in a sinister kind of way - to discuss issues as they are, without letting emotions come into play. In fact, forget about Russia at all. Let's think Ukraine and let's think democracy, as that is the major value the EU is meant to be bringing to this born-again country.
We are connected to this world in more ways than imaginable, in the ground and in the air; everything is made up of the basic building blocks of life, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. Trees are one of these givers of life, and how humans and trees correspond to give each other life is one of the most fundamental, yet essential aspects of ecology that much of the world lets slip from their minds...
A witness has testified in the trial of Oscar Pistorius that the Olympian asked a friend to take the blame for firing a shot in an upmarket restaurant. Boxer, Kevin Lerena, appeared at Pistorius trial as a prosecution witness and outlined the events of the shooting, which took place at Tasha's restaurant, in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, on 13 January 2013.
In an effort to save millions of newborn lives, we are urging all global leaders to take a stance this year and commit to a blueprint for change, namely, the Five Point Newborn Promise. This agenda focuses on training and equipping enough skilled healthcare workers to make sure no baby is born without proper help, and removing fees for all pregnancy and birth services.
Why is it that in Britain our criminal courts remain untelevised? Why is it that high profile cases - like the current phone hacking trials in the Old Bailey, which has huge repercussions for our democracy and will be closely followed around the world - can only be conveyed to us as second-hand information?
The sight of Russian soldiers in the Crimea is evidence that western hegemony, long held as the sine qua non of global affairs, is no longer a given. It is also further evidence that when it comes to foreign policy, Vladimir Putin is playing chess while his counterparts in Washington, London, and throughout the EU are playing checkers.
When Steenkamp was killed in February 2013, media outlets like the Sun and the Daily Mail chose to run articles featuring Steenkamp in bikinis; as if Steenkamp only mattered because she was beautiful and, by default, white. I thought this, only with live coverage of the trial, would be debased as humanity could get. I was wrong.
It wasn't just Russia that breached the sovereignty of Ukraine. The West did it too. And, in doing so, it set the scene for one of the most precarious international crises for a generation... The Eurocrats and oligarchs have failed Ukraine. Its people now need to look to each other in the fight for justice and liberation.