The festival celebrated 2,000 years of Maldivian island culture. The Maldives has been a multi-party democracy for only two years and this new freedom has opened up a host of opportunities both culturally and politically. The president set his country a target of becoming carbon neutral within ten years and the festival provided a platform for focusing international attention on the challenges facing the Maldives through climate change.
The Hay Festival is a place where the cultural, political and social issues of our age are discussed, examined and explored. An up and coming young democracy with the most beautiful beaches on Earth – the Maldives will be the perfect backdrop for Hay" President Mohamed Nasheed, 2 June 2010
The festival was launched on 14 October 2010 in the capital, Male, before moving to Aarah, giving rare public access to the Presidential Retreat Island.