The Initiative is a multi-year Smithsonian-wide effort based at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) that connects our science, art, history, and culture with key partners across the globe.

The Initiative supports community-based solutions to the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and social justice issues. 

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability of people and nature to respond and adapt to external stressors. Our ability to cope with the effects of the climate crisis is essential to our survival and prosperity. But how do we achieve resilience effectively?


The Adrienne Arsht Community-Based Resilience Solutions Initiative is a Smithsonian-wide effort with leadership based at STRI, which connects the multidisciplinary art and science done at the Smithsonian with key partners across the globe, by focusing on the cross-cutting theme: adaptation as a pathway to resilience for people and nature.

This Initiative was established in 2022, to support the Smithsonian’s Life on a Sustainable Planet. We will leverage this gift with the vision to build the Center for Resilience and Sustainability, which will lead cross-disciplinary and innovative efforts in support of community-based solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, located in the Isthmus of Panama, is uniquely positioned as a natural laboratory to study biodiversity in the tropics, and thus an ideal place to observe and understand how nature and people adapt to the increasing effects of climate change. 

Life on a Sustainable Planet envisions a future where humanity lives in balance with the natural world; through collaboration with global partners, we work to advance our collective understanding of how nature and human communities interact in pursuit of nature-based solutions for a more resilient Earth for all. 

Theme and Activities

Adaptation as a pathway to resilience for people and nature


Supporting postdoctoral researchers to bridge the Smithsonian-wide resilience work. 


Building a platform for global engagement around resilience.


Developing bilingual education resources for the next generation of global resilience leaders. 

Leadership and science capacity

Hiring staff with a deep understanding of community-based solutions.  

Resilience tour

Connecting the lived resilience experiences of young adults with art, history, science, and communities.  


We engage in impact-oriented collaborations

Center Pillars

We are structuring a Resilience Center

Who we are

We are a growing team of allies, leaders and partners working toward resilience solutions.

Our Founding Partner

Business leader and impact philanthropist Adrienne Arsht funded the Adrienne Arsht Community-Based Resilience Solutions Initiative, a multi-year program to research resilience and educate the public about the role resilience plays in shaping the world around us.

Adrienne Arsht is a longtime supporter of arts and civic institutions in Miami, New York and Washington, D.C. She is founding chair of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts Foundation in Miami, Florida, Honorary Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Trustee Emerita of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Executive Vice Chair of the Atlantic Council, as well as Chairman Emerita of TotalBank in Florida.

News & Events

Read the latest stories on the
Resilience and Sustainability Initiative

Featured articles

Life on a Sustainable Planet: Creating a Resilient…

by Ana K. Spalding, Director of the Adrienne Arsht Community Based Resilience Solutions Initiative At a time when climate change and biodiversity loss are threatening……

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Harnessing the wisdom of indigenous communities for marine…

By engaging directly with community members and embracing indigenous knowledge in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, a NatGeo project led by a Smithsonian scientist highlights……

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Indigenous women’s narratives are spotlighted in the face of climate…

The Diverse Stories of Resilience video series comprises a collection of resources spotlighting traditionally underrepresented voices within the topic of Women…

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Featured video

Diverse Stories of Resilience: Indigenous Wisdom