Center for A Science of Hope

The mission of the Center for A Science of Hope is to advance research-based understanding about hope and its applications. Hope is a pervasive but often ignored presence in the critical events of the times. Hope, or lack of it, has a powerful influence on outcomes in education, in health and healing, in work environments, and in political and economic activity. The Center seeks to identify applications of mature hope in a variety of fields, particularly in health and organization leadership.


The Center for A Science of Hope emerged as an ICIS project in the mid-1980s from a task force that was focusing on large-scale changes that ICIS International Council members thought would be necessary in order to positively influence what life could be like at the arrival of the twenty-first century. Task force members found compelling a particular factor which had been frequently mentioned by International Council members. That factor was hope. It was Robert Jungk, the international journalist and a member of the International Council who was in New York City on a visit and was attending the meeting, who urged that ICIS should focus on the idea of doing something about “a science of hope.” Thus the origin of the name, Center for A Science of Hope.

Later, David R. Schwarz wrote about some of the reactions to joining “science” and “hope” in the title of the Center and, for that matter, joining the two words in the same sentence. In his preface to the book, Aspects of Hope, published by the Center, he referenced an experience at a conference: “More than half of the participants expressed objections to applying the term 'science' to the study of hope because science is perceived to imply a reductive and limiting approach to subject matter that requires more constructive, intuitive, expansive breadth.” Furthermore, he went on to say, “Science was brought into our rubric not by scientists, but by humanists who wish to reclaim the original Latin meaning of the word, which is knowledge. Modern dictionaries take note of this origin in their multiple definitions of science... Emerging new science and mathematics will be much more harmonious with such evanescent concepts as mind, consciousness - and hope. So we remain a Center for A Science of Hope.”

The phrasing, “science of hope,” is now being found in writings, notably in the past few years in the fields of psychology and health care, most noticeably in the nursing literature of health care.

Center Activities

During the 1980-1990's the Center networked and held conferences with individuals and other organizations with similar interests, including Elpis Foundation in Argentina and Hope Foundation in Alberta , Canada . Collaboration with Elpis Foundation, held at the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica , produced proceedings titled “Resurgence of Hope in a World Civilization.” These proceedings were widely distributed to UN representatives and non-governmental organizations in support of the 50 th Anniversary of the United Nations. Collaboration with Hope Foundation of Alberta , resulted in the production and distribution of a two-part video series titled “This Thing Called Hope” which has been broadcast on Canadian public television and is used in graduate programs in psychology and activities in other fields.

Another Center program engages student interns periodically to search for publications on research and writings on hope. These published articles, papers, books, monographs, and presentations are compiled in a database maintained by the Center on hope-related research and concept formation.

Publications of the Center have included:


HopeWATCH, an occasional newsletter



If interested in any of the publications of the Center, please contact us.

Hope Consulting Services

Hope Consulting Services emerged in 2002 as an activity component of the ICIS Center for A Science of Hope. It is designed to serve the health care field and other human services fields - specifically organizations, professionals and practitioners in health care, mental health, social services and education. Its programmatic features provide a deeper understanding of the vital role hope plays in:

HCS consultants provide technical assistance to client organizations which includes strategic change initiatives, education and training workshops and seminars and other organization effectiveness consulting drawing on their in-depth expertise and research-based learnings about hope.

The Center's current priorities are focused in two major area of activity: (1) monitoring research and concept development about hope as a human condition or dynamic along with maintaining a database on hope, and (2) offering consulting and educational services to organizations and agencies in fields where hope is of a unique nature to their purpose - the most obvious ones being health care, human services and education. These are interdependent activities of the mission.