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SIRE campaign on hope with VU economist and theologian Jan Jorrit Hasselaar

9 January 2024
Today Stichting Ideële Reclame (SIRE) launches a national campaign on hope. Economist-theologian Jan Jorrit Hasselaar of VU Amsterdam is an expert in the field of hope and ambassador of the campaign.

With the campaign Find your bright spot and dare to hope, which can be seen from 9 January, SIRE draws attention to hope. The foundation wants to encourage people to embrace hope, both personally and in society.  "Hope is a desire for improvement, for which we are willing to take action. It keeps people going and doesn't give up. While we are never quite sure whether our wishes and expectations will come true."

'Transformative force in society'

"In these times of radical uncertainty, hope can connect people and give them a way forward," says Jan Jorrit Hasselaar, economist-theologian at the Faculty of Religion and Theology at VU Amsterdam. "Even if people have different perspectives, it is hopeful if they still manage to form a community, as beautifully filmed in The Old Oak from 2023, for example."

Hope is not the same as optimism, Hasselaar argues. "Optimism believes that tomorrow will be better than today, for example in a naïve belief in progress that technology will save us. Hope stands for learning to take responsibility together for a shared future. In this way, hope can grow from a small seed to a transformative force in society."

Scientists on hope

In addition to Hasselaar, several scientists are participating in the campaign, such as Emma Pleeging of EHERO (Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation), Peter Hein van Mulligen of CBS and Paul Verhaeghe, clinical psychologist and emeritus professor at Gent University. 

Verhaeghe: "Hope is important, especially now. It encourages people to work together and commit to a better future, ultimately leading to positive change in society. By doing something small for your own environment, you not only become more hopeful yourself, but others too."

Podcast series with hopeful stories 

To inspire people with hopeful stories, SIRE is launching the podcast series Lichtpuntjes next week. Every week, well-known icons share their personal stories about what brings them hope. Roxeanne Hazes, Laurentien van Oranje, Frank Lammers, Louis van Gaal and Ahmed Aboutaleb will discuss this with journalist and SIRE board member Diana Matroos. The first episode will be available from Monday 15 January via all regular podcast apps.