European SPES Institute

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’.

Frugality: Rebalancing Material and Spiritual Values in Economic Life

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Bouckaert, L., Opdebeeck, H. & Zsolnai, L. (eds.) Frugality: Rebalancing Material and Spiritual Values in Economic Life . Peter Lang Publishing, Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2008. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The book examines frugality as an ideal and an ‘art de vivre’ which implies a low level of material consumption and a simple lifestyle, to open the mind for spiritual goods as inner freedom, social peace and justice or the quest for God or ‘ultimate reality’. By rational choice we can develop a more frugal and sufficient way of life, but material temptations can always overwrite our ecological, social and ethical considerations. But the spiritual case for frugality is strong enough.

Europe-Asia Dialogue on Business Spirituality

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Laszlo Zsolnai (ed.) Europe-Asia Dialogue on Business Spirituality. Garant, Antwerpen-Apeldoom , 2008. (This book may be available at: European SPES Forum)

Values, purposes and functions of European and Asian businesses is a topic of vital importance today. The book contains selected papers of the “Europe-Asia Dialogue on Business, Ethics & Spirituality” annual conference of the European SPES Forum held in 2006 in Budapest, Hungary. Scholars and practitioners from England, Norway, Sweden, and Hungary as well as from India, Indonesia, Japan, and the USA share their views on European and Asian ways of doing business.

Spirituality as a Public Good

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Luk Bouckaert & Laszlo Zsolnai (eds.) Spirituality as a Public Good. Garant, Antwerpen-Apeldoom, 2007. (This book may be available at: European SPES Forum)

The ongoing process of globalisation, deconstructing our familiar social identities and institutional settings, makes it necessary to find new and deeper sources of self-orientation and moral imagination. Formal rational ethics does not suffice. Ethics needs spirituality as a driver to find its inner purpose and meaning.