Science Untangles the Elusive Power and Influence of Hope in Our Lives

Richard Miller: I am a professor of practice and clinical director for Arizona State University’s Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Hope. The center’s team is made up of researchers, practitioners and graduate students who are advancing the understanding, strategy and practice of hope. Other academic institutions including the University of Oklahoma’s Hope Research Center are committing resources to better understand the dynamics of hope. In 2014, the John Templeton Foundation funded The Hope and Optimism initiative, a $4.5 million, four-year grant at Notre Dame and Cornell. The project explored hope from various lenses including religion, medicine, sociology and psychology. There is a new generation of hope scientists emerging on university campuses around the globe dedicated to further unraveling hope’s potential. These research topics include coping skills, depression, aging, social justice and creating communities of hope. It is my long-standing belief that society often defines children and their future by disproportionately identifying and focusing on risk and trauma but ignoring hope.

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