Reflections on 2020

Dear friends,

Given these unprecedented times, I find myself struggling to express the range and depth of thoughts and feelings that this year has evoked. As I sit writing this, soulful instrumental music is playing in the background and I’m reminded of a conversation that Barnett and I had many years ago with Norwegian musicologist, Jon-Roar Bjorkvold, who said, “Music is the first thing we meet and the last thing we lose.” So, in this moment I pause and I imagine all of us in the CMM community who are reading this connecting in various ways—in silence, in music, in words, in tears—as we hold a range of emotions and perspectives about our lives, the lives of others and the planet as a whole in the year 2020.

This year marks the anniversary of the first decade that the CMM Institute has been in existence. Not unlike 2020, the formation of the CMM Institute in 2010 occurred in grief and sadness… alongside hope and expectation: grief knowing that co-founder Barnett Pearce was terminally ill and would not see the fruits of his life’s work expressed through the Institute and hope/expectation that the Institute would be a force for good in the world as we attempt to live into our mission of promoting abilities, skills and ways of being that enable us to act compassionately, mindfully, and wisely into the complex social worlds in which we live.

We have attempted to live CMM in the functioning of the Institute and what we have co-constructed together has led to openings, projects, and products that none of us could have predicted or imagined. This year is no exception. Despite the immense challenges of 2020, and with your help and many volunteer hours, we have, amongst other things:

  • helped support 14 Fellows who are working on a range of inspiring projects to help transcend polarized narratives
  • published another book through the CMMI Press with at least two more in the pipeline for 2021
  • continued the development of Cosmopolis 2045, an imagined community in the year 2045 that has taken seriously the communication perspective
  • held a virtual Learning Exchange and a webinar on Moral Foundations
  • represented CMM in a number of online conferences, seminars and webinars
  • translated CosmoKidz into Spanish, Romanian, Farsi, Pashto and Urdu
  • began developing CosmoTeenz with a working group from two continents (activities for teens, ages 13-17)
  • continued the research with an entire CosmoKidz school in Independence, Louisiana and began raising money for a longitudinal study
  • translated all CosmoKidz and CosmoTweenz activities into digital versions and developed a CosmoKidz website that we will launch in early 2021
  • developed “just in time” CosmoKidz cards around COVID and a group of teachers are currently working on other pertinent topics of race, identity, and culture
  • collaborated with AC4 (Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity) at Columbia and Adler University on mutual activities
  • offered CMM orientated session at Fielding Graduate University Winter Session
  • continued to work with the Global Social Witnessing Lab

This list is the tip of the iceberg as it doesn’t reflect the impact each of you have had in your personal and professional circles.

I end these reflections with deep gratitude for the lives of our first responders, teachers, care-givers and scientists, amongst others, who have worked tirelessly in the service of the community. The work of the world-wide scientific community is testament to what can happen when we work together. May 2021 be filled with many hugs and expressions of love that are possible because of the tireless work of those who made a vaccine at breakneck speed possible.

We recognize that so many of us have had loved ones, friends or even themselves impacted by covid-19 and we offer our heartfelt sympathies along with our very best wishes for a healthier, safer new year in which we can once again celebrate the joys of being with each other.

Kim Pearce

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