We send our love and hope to the people in the room.
Imagine taking months, years to negotiate peace with your enemy, to pursue truth and reconciliation, a workable settlement. It's mind-bending, heart-mending work. Thank you, negotiators, for your courage and your persistence. Thank you for listening to each other. Thank you for being there so that we can be here.
Because here in Cartagena we have the space to dream, to tell stories and to share big ideas; because here we can turn a monument to slavery into a palace of freedom, we can welcome the world to Colombia and recognise ourselves in the tales of East and West, of emerging cultures and fading empires.
Hay Festival Cartagena is not a life and death conversation. If we screw up, the worst that can happen is that people might get a bit bored for a couple of hours. But if it goes well, then we can be enlightened, liberated; we might change our minds, make friends, be inspired. We might experience the gift of great writing - the joy of understanding life from someone else's point of view.
Then we'll both be making the world better in our different ways..