The Middle East is a key region of interest because although increasing numbers of women are receiving a good standard of education, the region still lags behind on the core issue of economic equality. On a global scale, the latest figures from the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report show that although the gender gap in education is 93% closed, the gap in economic equality has closed by only 60%.
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.
For over two years, many of these children have had their lives interrupted and have often had to miss school for long periods of time. Many have escaped horrors no child should witness.... Despite all they have been through, these resilient children have inspired so many around them. These photos portray some of the many children who have touched the hearts of UNHCR staff.
Lebanon has a population of just over four million, and we are now hosting more than one million Syrians. With the history of conflict in this country, it is our natural instinct to welcome refugees, but we are being overwhelmed. People are extremely worried about the pressure on the economy, about the increase in crime, and of course about the sharp rise in sectarian violence.
There is a palpable fear across Lebanon. The country has seen war and knows what it looks like. Sectarian violence has increased in recent months, and as refugees keep arriving the expectation is that the number could double by Christmas. Lebanon's future is now intimately tied with Syria's, and a solution to the conflict in Syria must be found for the entire region.
"I want the world to feel us, to have compassion, to listen to these stories of our lives and our suffering. To know that no-one wants to leave their home. We were living a normal life - we had houses, jobs, shops, warehouses. Now we have lost everything, we have nothing. I just want the people outside to know that we were just like you."
As you drive down the main road that leads to Hamra, a district of West Beirut, you will notice, if you're observant enough, beyond the shrub covered walls of the Armenian institute, Haigazian University, that a white needle nosed rocket points towards the sky, or the stars, dependant on how romantic you wish to be.
It's been several weeks now since Lebanon's President Sleiman tweeted his support of civil marriage in Lebanon (#civilmarriageleb). Politicians and Twitter, always fun. It was in response to the story that broke several days earlier of a couple who were on the verge of being the country's first ever union outside a religious setting.