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07.01.2013 | by Judith Rodin

Dr. Judith Rodin addressed the crowd of Lounge trousers Nude amp; Neutrals Venroy sB6GC2G
, an event co-hosted by the Foundation and PopTech at in New York City to address how to build communities that can recover, persist or even thrive amid disruption.

There is perhaps no better location to discuss the concept of resilience.

This institution — and this city — have built their resilience over centuries — enduring fires, floods, the Great Depression, the Great Recession, hurricanes, Superstorms…and, if one only reads the opinion page of the Wall Street Journal, the biggest crisis to hit New York yet: CitiBike.

All joking aside, while Superstorm Sandy was a stark reminder of how exposed New York City is to major disruptions, the truth is it has always been a place of great vulnerability. In 1835, for example, a Great Fire burned much of Lower Manhattan to the ground. Despite being surrounded by water on all sides, there was not enough of it available to put the fire out.

In response, the city and state dammed the Croton River in Westchester County, and built an extensive —aqueduct system. It was hailed as one of the greatest engineering achievements of its time — and the access to this great water resource built up New York’s resilience to future fires.

Fifty years later, New York would experience another shock: the Great Blizzard of 1888 which shut down the city’s system of elevated trains, and prompted the city to build the underground subway system that we know today.

History tells us that responding to vulnerabilities is not a new concept for cities — and there is a long record of these responses yielding — in the case of the aqueduct systems and our underground subways — some of our greatest innovations.

Today, though the global community is experiencing these shocks and disruptions on a near weekly basis.

Boston, Istanbul, San Jose, Costa Rica. Athens, Budapest, Colorado Springs,

All from different regions, with different demographics, geographic terrains and political systems.

But they all share at least one thing in common: in the last year they’ve experienced a major disruption: bombings, protests, earthquake, financial ruin, unprecedented flooding, devastating wildfires.

We can’t predict when or where the next shock will hit. But we know that those shocks will come — and that they will only continue to increase in frequency, scale, and impact.

At least, three reasons: Urbanization, Globalization, Modal Scarf al brown orange white by VIDA VIDA t1773M

When the Rockefeller Foundation opened our doors on Broadway one hundred years ago in 1913, only 1 in 10 people lived in cities. Today, around the world, half of all people call some city home, and by 2050, that number will rise to 75 percent.

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The Bible’s Viewpoint Is It Wrong to Be Ambitious?

“WHAT is wrong with fame, fortune and power anyway?” This question appeared in a report from a religious association under the heading “Ethical Dilemmas.” The account referred to God’s words to Abraham: “I shall make a great nation out of you and I shall bless you and I will make your name great.”​—.

While noting that “ambition should not be pursued to the detriment of others,” the write-up quoted a famous first-century rabbi, who said: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” and then concluded: “If we do not realize our potential no one else will.” Does ambition present a dilemma for those who desire to serve God? What is involved in realizing our potential? Is it wrong to be ambitious? What is the Bible’s viewpoint?

Was Abraham Ambitious?

Abraham is noted in the Bible as an outstanding man of faith. () God was not encouraging Abraham to be ambitious by promising that He would make a great nation out of him and make his name great. God was stating his purpose to bless mankind through Abraham, a purpose that transcended mere human aspirations.​—.

In pursuing his devotion to God, Abraham left an apparently comfortable, prosperous life-style in Ur. () Later, for the sake of peace, Abraham willingly relinquished power and authority when he offered his nephew Lot the choicest part of the land in which to settle. () Nothing in the Bible record portrays Abraham as an ambitious man. Rather, his faith, obedience, and humility are what endeared him to God as a real “friend.”​—.

A Different View of Rank, Fame, and Power

Ambition is defined as an “ardent desire for rank, fame, or power.” In ancient times King Solomon had rank, fame, and power, along with great wealth. () Interestingly, though, he did not set out with an ardent desire for them. When Solomon inherited the kingship, God invited him to ask for anything he wished. Solomon humbly asked for an obedient heart and the discernment needed to rule God’s chosen people. () Later, after describing the full extent of the wealth and power he had come to possess, Solomon declared that “everything was vanity and a striving after wind.”​—.

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