Chris Moran - The Optimism of Undreamed of Futures

"My optimism comes from the realisation of undreamed-of futures."


I asked Chris Moran, Vice Chancellor and CEO of the University of New England, what makes him optimistic.

Chris told me, "My optimism comes from the realisation of undreamed-of futures through the provision of education, particularly for those in regional and rural areas. I believe we are shaping a future through education where all individuals are empowered to have an impact and contribute to a better world."

What makes you optimistic?

In 2022, amidst the unique challenges faced by Armidale and the University of New England, a concerted effort was made to kindle a flame of optimism within the community. The "Spring into Optimism" initiative marked a pivotal moment, not just as a series of events but as a profound movement towards nurturing a culture rich in hope and positive anticipation. The success of these events was a testament to the collective yearning for and belief in the transformative power of optimism.

Professor Simon Evans, then Acting Vice-Chancellor at the University of New England, encapsulated the essence of optimism as a catalyst for action and positive change. He stated, "I am optimistic because it is a mindset that predisposes me to action rather than inaction in the face of challenges; because I believe in the possibility of positive change through collaborative endeavour; and because it is necessary (but not sufficient!) in order to be an engaged and supportive friend, colleague and leader." This perspective underscores optimism as an active force driving us towards meaningful engagement and solutions.
Lou Conway, Director of the UNE SMART Region Incubator, reflected on the sources of her optimism, highlighting, "Endless possibilities that are fuelled by growing things, music, listening well and every other unbounded moment of creativity." Conway's insights remind us of the diverse wellsprings of optimism surrounding us, urging us to embrace and seek out those moments of creativity and growth fueling our hopeful outlook on life and its myriad possibilities.

The student leaders involved in the initiative brought forth valuable insights, emphasising the importance of optimistic leadership, creating positive traditions, and cultivating a community culture steeped in positivity and proactive communication. Their statements, such as "Leaders should be optimistic," and the emphasis on building an optimistic culture through initiatives like "Wellbeing Wednesday," underscore the impact of optimism on fostering a supportive and forward-looking community ethos.

The success of the "Spring into Optimism" events highlighted the appetite for a dialogue centred around optimism, particularly the power of asking, "What makes you optimistic?" This question, simple yet profound, has the potential to reorient conversations and mindsets towards a more hopeful and constructive framework, encouraging individuals and communities alike to reflect on the sources of their optimism and how it shapes their actions and aspirations.

In conclusion, "Spring into Optimism" catalysed a series of successful events and sowed the seeds for a lasting legacy of optimism in Armidale and beyond. The insights from Professor Simon Evans, Lou Conway, and the participating student leaders serve as enduring reminders of the vitality of optimism in navigating today's challenges and steering towards a brighter, more hopeful future. Through collective efforts and shared visions, the "Spring into Optimism" journey continues to inspire and guide us towards realising optimism's boundless possibilities.


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