The European SPES Forum was established in by Luk Bouckaert and Laszlo Zsolnai 2004 In Leuven, Belgium. It was transformed into the European SPES Institute in 2014.
The aim of the European SPES Institute is to make spirituality accessible as a public good to as many people as possible. Or, to phrase it differently: to open up spirituality as a vital source in social and economic life. This aim is expressed in the key word of SPES, being on the one hand an acronym for ‘SPirituality in Economic and Social life’ and, on the other hand, the Latin word for Hope, the virtue that sustains our belief in a better future. Spirituality is deliberately defined in broad and pluralistic terms so that the European SPES Institute brings together people from different spiritual backgrounds and traditions: Christians, Buddhists, spiritual freethinkers, Jews, Muslims. Our working definition is: Spirituality is the multiform search for a transcendent or deep meaning of life that connects people to each other and brings them in touch with God or ‘Ultimate Reality’. Within this definition there is room for differing views, for spiritualities with and without God and for an ethics of dialogue or ‘active pluralism’.