Project Overview

This fall, New America released a digital magazine about the topic of resilience. In this issue, we featured the wisdom and unique perspectives of changemakers, thought leaders, and creatives on how we, as a nation, can bolster the resilience of our society. 

The topics covered here are diverse, ranging from immigration and refugees to food security and transformations in the workplace. Each interview weaves together narratives of personal growth and reinvention with examples of organizational advances and societal progress. Candid stories of failure, both personal and professional, make the interviews relatable and intimate, and the lense of resilience gives them a sense of optimism that is often missing from discussions of today’s societal issues. 

Over the past year, we were particularly glad to take on this project at New America, given our many years of work building more Resilient Communities in New York City by working with local groups to create wireless mesh communication networks that can withstand even the worst storms. Further, our Resource Security program understands resilience as a core part of how we need to define security itself, which must include preparing for the impact of climate change on our food and water supplies. It has also studied the ways in which technology can help build local resilience in the face of natural disasters. And in a very different context, our colleagues with the Political Reform program have studied resilience to political violence. Their paper reviews insights lessons learned from social science and international peacebuilding to explore American resilience in the face of political violence. 

The work of our colleagues, as well as every contributor in this magazine, brings a new perspective, adding a new puzzle piece to the definition of resilience, expanding and refining it to more accurately describe how individuals and societies deal with change.


Many of our colleagues, past and present, have contributed to this project and we hope you will all take some time to navigate through and read some of the contributions. Lastly, this project was brought to life through the work of Erin Cochran and Kodiak Starr of Iced Coffee, Please, as well as Emily Schneider.

Awista Ayub

Awista Ayub is the director of New America’s Fellows Program. She is the author of Kabul Girls Soccer Club (Hyperion). Ayub has served as an advisory council member and contributor to and has written extensively about issues pertaining to Muslim women in sports. She was named one of 32 “women who will change the way sports are played” in ESPN The Magazine’s Title IX’s 40th-anniversary issue.

Prior to joining New America, Ayub worked as the director of South Asia programs at Seeds of Peace and was based in Mumbai, India with extensive travel to Pakistan and Afghanistan for three years of her six years in this role. She also worked for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. as the education and health officer.

In 2004, Ayub founded Afghanistan’s first girl’s soccer team; a program that was featured on ESPN as a recipient of the 2006 ESPY’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Her media appearances include ABC News (Person of the Week), NPR, ESPN, Glamour Magazine, CNN, New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated, the San Francisco Chronicle, Washingtonian, and USA Today.

She received her B.S. in chemistry from the University of Rochester, and her M.P.A. from the University of Delaware.

Peter Bergen

Peter Bergen is a journalist, documentary producer, vice president for global studies & fellows at New America, CNN national security analyst, professor of practice at Arizona State University where he co-directs the Center on the Future of War, and the author or editor of seven books, three of which were New York Times bestsellers and four of which were named among the best non-fiction books of the year by the Washington Post. The books have been translated into twenty-one languages. Documentaries based on his books have been nominated for two Emmys and also won the Emmy for best documentary.