Despite his personal tragedy, Dr Abuelaish is a passionate advocate of peace. Listening to his heart-breaking story, this is the part that was the most profoundly moving. As my sister and I made our way out of Storey Hall to our tramstops in the cold wind and the drizzle, we agreed the most important message we could take away from Dr Abuelaish's powerful address was that the wish for peace wasn't a naive one. Despite feeling overwhelmed and powerless in the face of war and all the hate that rages throughout the world, Dr Abuelaish called on every one of us in that hall to hope for peace and to spread this message, to educate ourselves and our children and to make our votes count.
As Dr Abuelaish signed my book, wanting to find some small way to connect with this awe-inspiring man, I asked him if he would manage to squeeze in a little bit of a holiday while he was here. He looked up at me with weary eyes and said no, all he wanted was to get back to his children. Back home, walking quietly through my sleeping house, I lingered longer in the doorways of my own.