Looking back and looking ahead:
An end of year letter from Kim Pearce

In her end of year letter to the CMM community, Kim Pearce reflects on the passing of events this year. From the loss of a dear member of our community, Philip Thomas, to the big dreamings we are nurturing for the coming years.


Dear friends,

It is the first day of the last month of the year. I’m overlooking my courtyard and gazing at a desert willow tree that has lost most of its leaves sitting next to a potted geranium plant still in full bloom.  For some reason, seeing these plants side-by-side reminds me of seasonal cycles and, by extension, the cycles in our own lives. 

I received the very painful news yesterday that a beloved friend and colleague, Philip Thomas, passed in Kenya. Philip was a very dear friend to Barnett and me and many others in the CMM community and beyond. For those of you who didn’t know Philip, he lived the life of dialogue in his personal and professional life, as he worked with international leaders in the “hottest of the hot spots” in the service of peace. He was also part of a small group of trusted friends that Barnett invited to help him determine whether it was beneficial to think of a “home” for CMM. The CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution was born out of those conversations and Philip was one of the first Board members of the CMM Institute. It is difficult for me to put into words the deep sadness, grief, and loss that I, and so many of us, feel…for so many reasons.

The passing of a loved one is also an opportunity to do some “perspective taking,” and since we are also at the end of another year, it seems fitting to do some looking back and looking ahead in our lives and in our work. In terms of the CMM Institute, there are myriad lived and told stories about the past and about the future depending on the perspective of the storyteller, so take this as an offering of my story and an invitation to think about the story you would like to tell. 

Here is my story…  The cultural anthropologist, author, and speaker Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has!” The CMM Institute was created because a small group of us believe this…and our belief in this continues to this day.

We are dreaming big and we invite each of you to dream with us and help make our collective dreams a reality. 

We are dreaming about a world in which children grow up understanding the consequentiality of communication and have developed skills and abilities at an early age that serve them and those around them well. We are putting this dream into practice with CosmoKidz, and we are currently developing CosmoTweenz and CosmoTeenz. 

We are dreaming of communities that take a communication-centric view on all aspects of community-life including city government, the educational system, housing, sustainable food production, justice, and faith communities. Cosmopolis 2045 is our way of showing what such a community might look like. This is an on-going, developing site. Visit it and add to it at www.cosmopolis2045.com    

We are dreaming of providing support for and celebrating the work of scholars and practitioners who are currently using CMM or want to incorporate CMM in their research or their practice. We are in our eighth year of yearly Learning Exchanges along with the CMM and AC4 (Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity at Columbia U) Fellows program. And thanks to John Chetro-Szivos and Fitchburg University, the Barnett Pearce collection can be accessed from anywhere in the world. You will find it on our website under the W.B Pearce archives https://cmminstitute.org/w-b-pearce-archives/

We are dreaming of ways to better connect those of us who are interested in being part of a CMM community. Beginning in February, the first Wednesday of every month (8:00am Pacific Time zone and 5:00pm Central European Time zone) there will be an opportunity for the community to connect via zoom around topics you are interested in. For more information see https://cmminstitute.org/events/. We will also be exploring other ways of providing meaningful opportunities to connect, so stay tuned. But if you have ideas or requests please let us know.

As we all know, the planet continues to face enormous challenges and these challenges can seem overwhelming. The CMM Institute is an all-volunteer organization. We are not doing this work for money or prestige. We are doing it because we know the quality of communication changes the world for good and for ill. We know that CMM can change the world, and indeed it has… one conversation, one classroom, one family, one community, one research project, and one Learning Exchange at a time. The Board of Stewards and I look forward to what we, the collective community of the CMM Institute, will make together in 2019. Let us continue to dream big and live the lives we want to see in the world.

I will end here and again invite you to tell your own story or add to mine. We are opening up our Facebook page for you to make your own offerings on where and how our dreams can unfold. Become one of the small group of committed people that want to change the world with us!

With gratitude,



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