About the Institute

Our mission is to contribute to the making of better social worlds by reflecting on current patterns of communication and building better ones. We know that the skills necessary for making better social worlds are unevenly distributed and often in shortest supply when needed most. We are dedicated to improving this situation by promoting abilities, skills, and ways of being that enable us to act compassionately, mindfully, and wisely into the complex worlds in which we live.

The Institute’s goal is best expressed as learning together how to develop and share a cosmopolitan sensibility regarding our communication practices. This cosmopolitan sensibility can be expressed in several ways, including the idea that we remain profoundly curious about, and open to, the many ways of being human, seeing each way as one reality among many, and appreciating that all are constructed in different ongoing patterns of communicating.

In all of these efforts, the goal is to shift our taken-for-granted view of communication (as a simple tool for exchanging ideas and information) to a more complex understanding of the creative power of communication. In practical terms, these shifts are facilitated using tools and models inspired and informed by the Theory of the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM).

The Institute itself represents a diverse community of individuals, groups and organizations who use the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) theory to inform and enhance their work. We engage with, and learn from one another, through a variety of online and in-person forums. Individual scholars and practitioners, educators and thought leaders, and institutional advocates comprise the core of the Institute’s supporters. However, the Institute’s programs and events are open to everyone.

As the institutional home and on-going keeper of CMM’s living history, the Institute partners with people, organizations and projects that represent significant, relevant, and applicable ways to institutionalize better patterns of communication.

The public benefit 501(c)3 Institute provides:

  • Opportunities for collaboration, research, and teaching, including our joint graduate student fellowship program with Columbia University and joint conferences held with like-minded organisations such as the UK Association for Family Therapy
  • Professional development programs for emerging and established CMM practitioners, including our annual CMMi Fellowship program
  • Development and implementation of demonstration projects, showing how we can make better social worlds, especially demonstrated in our long-term CosmoKidz and Cosmopolis projects
  • Worldwide networking and information sharing most notably conducted through our Learning Exchanges and occasional webinars
  • Fresh insights about CMM’s capacity to transform contemporary social issues and covered in the CMMi Press publication program
  • Advocacy for the continued improvement of personal and public communication in all walks of life, through our publications, our sponsored projects and our networking
  • Support for the continued development of CMM as a practical theory and as a way of being in the world

The Board of Stewards

The Institute is overseen by an international Board of Stewards. The members of the board voluntarily contribute their time and expertise to fulfilling the vision of the Institute. At various times, the members take on specific responsibilities for particular projects and activities that suit their passions and their time available. The current responsibilities include:


Barton Buechner, PhD CMMi Fellows, CMMI Secretary
Jan Elliott, PhD on sabbatical
Beth Fisher-Yoshida, PhD CMMi Fellows, AC4 Fellows, CMMi Editorial Collective
Marit Eikaas Haavimb, MABPSS CosmoKidz
Eerika Hedman-Phillips, PhD on maternity leave
Arthur Jensen, PhD Cosmopolis, CMMi Editorial Collective
Barbara McKay, D.Psych CMMi Press Editorial Collective,    UK/AFT Liaison
Sergej van Middendorp, PhD CMMI Treasurer, Fielding Graduate University & Institute for Global Integral Competence Liaison
Kimberly Pearce, MA Cofounder, President, CosmoKidz
Robyn Penman, PhD Honorary Life Associate, Cosmopolis, CMMi Press Editor, Newsletter Editor
Rik Spann, MA Cultural Ambassador and Resident Musician
Susan Steen, PhD CMMi Editorial Collective
Daniel Walters CosmoKidz
Ilene Wasserman, PhD  CMMi Fellows, CMMi Editorial Collective

Latest news about the CMM Institute

Giving back…or paying it forward…in challenging times

Giving back…or paying it forward…in challenging times

Kim Pearce writes about an important cause that is animating the Institute in these challenging times: developing the leverage for systemic change by providing children the skills, abilities, and tools to co-create better social worlds.

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Meet Susan Steen: our new board member in 2020

Meet our newest board member: Susan Steen

Susan Steen has recently joined the Board of the CMM Institute. She is an Assistant Professor of Cross-Cultural Communication at the Air Force Culture and Language Center (AFCLC) and has written an introduction to herself and how she has found CMM inspiring in her work and life.

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Meet Rik Spann: one of our new board members

Rik Spann: one of our new board members

Rik joined us an advisor to the board last year and this year he has become a full member. Here Rik introduces himself by way of a short biographical note around the theme of “And jam, of course”.

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Meet Barbara McKay: one of our new board members

Meet Barbara McKay: one of our new board members

Barbara has just joined the CMMI Board and will be with us at the Learning Exchange. Here she tells us about her professional background and how CMM has inspired her in her work and personal life.

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