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A Resilient Future

High school students play Japanese drums under blue carp streamers to commemorate earthquake and tsunami victims in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan [© The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images]

The concept of resilience may be interpreted differently depending on the field to which it is applied, whether engineering, emergency response, ecology, psychology, business or otherwise. Irrespective of the subtle differences that may exist in the various interpretations of resilience, the ability to maintain continuity and recover when plunged into changing circumstances is a common theme that resonates throughout them all.

The increasing frequency with which disasters and extreme weather events are now occurring on a global scale highlights just how important it is to strengthen the resilience of human societies through development and implementation of robust systems that ensure they are adequately prepared for, capable of effectively responding to and successfully recovering from any such impending threat.

However, as SGI President Daisaku Ikeda states, "If we are to realize the rich possibilities inherent in the concept of resilience, we will need to expand and recast our understanding of what it means. Resilience, in other words, should not be thought of as simply our capacity to prepare for and respond to threats. Rather, we should think of it in terms of realizing a hopeful future, rooted in people's natural desire to work together toward common goals and to sense progress toward those goals in a tangible way. It should be seen as an integral aspect of humankind's shared project to create the future--a project in which anyone anywhere can participate and which lays the solid foundations for a sustainable global society."

This issue of the SGI Quarterly approaches the concept of resilience from this broader perspective, with real-life examples that provide valuable insight into how individuals, organizations and communities are capable of setting their differences aside in the interest of a common good to create a truly resilient future.

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