CMM Learning Exchange Fellowship Application Process and Eligibility

AC4 CMM 2021 Learning Exchange Fellowship:  Application Process and Eligibility

When family, work and community merge: Learning and growing from the pandemic experience

The CMM Learning Exchange is an annual forum that brings together a diverse community of individuals and groups to focus on and advance individual and collective understanding on communication, as put forth by the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM). AC4 supports CMM as a theoretical framework and methodology for addressing issues of violence and conflict, and for fostering peace and sustainability.

“CMM is the acronym for “Coordinated Management of Meaning,” a phrase that describes what we do when we communicate with each other. … Individual scholars and practitioners, educators and thought leaders, and institutional advocates comprise the core of the [CMM] Institute’s supporters, however, the Institute’s programs and events are open to everyone.”

The 2021 CMM Learning Exchange hosted by the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution, (in partnership with Columbia University), includes scholars and practitioners, educators, students and thought leaders, comprising a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.

Fostering interdisciplinary approaches to constructive conflict resolution and peacebuilding, AC4offers fellowship awards to the learning exchange for current graduate students and emerging scholar-practitioners as a way to support innovative work and add diversity to the CMM Learning Exchange. Through this fellowship, graduate students and emerging scholars are supported to participate in the CMM Learning Exchange and become an associate of the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution. This year, the exchange will take place virtually during the Fall of 2021.

CMMI Learning Exchange Focus:

This past year has been an unusual time. Overnight our social worlds were upended. Workplaces went virtual. School went virtual. Families, friends and communities shifted to online gatherings. The virtual workplace crossed boundaries. Children joined meetings; We were able to see each other’s homes. Mixed in with social distancing, we have also had opportunities to explore “personal and social evolution” in our thinking about how we “be” together. During this time, we have also seen racial injustice and health and structural inequality with greater clarity.

We are seeking innovative proposals for projects or studies which use CMM concepts to reflect on what we learned from the process of responding to a global pandemic, and how we might apply what we have learned to bridge fragmented social realities and identities that have been made more visible by this experience, especially those that create, perpetuate, and escalate conflict. Given this year’s CMMI focus on family systems, we have a particular interest in proposals which including circular questioning, cosmopolitan communication, and other uses of the CMM body of theory which engage structural change in thinking around patterns of social engagement.

We are looking for proposals that address conflict related to the following:

  • Impact of new forms or patterns of communication on integration of community, work, and family life
  • Use of CMM concepts, particularly circular questioning and cosmopolitan communication, to re-imagine greater coherence among members of overlapping or intersecting systems
  • Opportunities to reconcile previously incommensurate beliefs or worldviews in our emergent “new social reality”
  • Ways to help children expand their communicative capacities for living in and making better social worlds as they move between home, school, and their future roles
  • How a more cohesive “better social world” can be created in the future as result of specific areas of learning from the shared global pandemic experience.

Proposals should use the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) theory and can also show resonance with other related bodies of communication theory pertaining to the social construction of reality and social systems.

In terms of practical impact, AC4 will accept three AC4 CMM Fellows with proposals that address an expanded time horizon, including:

  • What can we do now as we take stock and move ahead?
  • What can we do for the next generation? Cultivating and nurturing a “cosmopolitan sensibility” in children and teens to help move on from things that have us “stuck”
  • How might things be different in the future? Imagining the possibilities in the year 2045 as we look back on what we learned during our response to the global pandemic, and how out communication processes evolved (Consider how your proposal might become a part of a personal story or a site for )

Fellowship Components:

  1. If your Fellowship proposal is accepted, you will be sponsored by AC4 to attend the 2021 Virtual CMM Learning Exchange (LE). Here, you will talk about your proposal and ask questions of the LE participants to help refine the ideas further. We see this as a major opportunity to be in conversation about your ideas with CMM Institute Board Members, past and current CMMI Fellows, and make collaborative connections with others in the extended CMM “family” of scholar-practitioners.
  2. As a Fellow, you join a group of peers and other thought partners in the CMM community and will have the opportunity to develop a conference paper for publication.
  3. We may also invite and work with you to arrange for a webinar presentation of your work, under sponsorship of the CMM Institute.
  4. Selected fellows will receive a $500 honorarium.

CMMI Fellows Application Timeline and Selection Process: 

  • Complete the online application. Deadline for applications is May 17, 2021 by 11:59 PM EST.
  • Applications will receive a blind review by our advisory panel by early June 2021, after which you will receive feedback on your proposal, whether or not you are accepted as a 2021 CMMI Fellow.
  • AC4 will make the final selection of the 2021 Fellows in mid to late June 2021.
  • Fellows will be invited to attend and discuss their proposals at the CMM Learning Exchange (Dates and format TBD)
  • A webinar to present final Fellows papers may be arranged in late 2021 or early 2022.



  • The fellowship is open to current master’s and doctoral students from all disciplines and schools with focus on conflict resolution, as well as alumni of graduate conflict resolution programs from Columbia University or any other university around the globe.

  •  First time recipients of the AC 4  fellowship and current students are given priority.

Application Process:

The following information is required via the online application:

  1. A proposal of no more than 3 pages (double-spaced, 12-point font) describing your study or project, its scope and focus, how it relates to CMM, and its projected (or actual) impact and/or professional significance. Proposals can be focused on research, practice or applied research in one of the three thematic areas.
  2. A letter of recommendation signed and on institutional letterhead. The letter should be tailored to the applicant’s research or project;
  3. Brief Resume or CV (up to 3 pages);
  4. Proof of Student Status demonstrated with unofficial transcript from current university, a copy of university transcript, or a copy of Student ID.

All materials should be submitted using the online application form.


Learn more about CMM:

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  • The Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) offers a body of practical theory and a palette of conceptual models and tools that allow us to see how our social worlds and identities are made in patterns of communication. The stories we tell about the pressing social issues we face, and the others who are involved in them, can become embodied in ourselves and in our social institutions. The way we look at this communication (which we call “the communication perspective”) helps us to see what we are making together in our patterns of communication. This may help us to consider better ways of being, and of being together, and visualize other possibilities for constructing better social worlds.
  • The CMMI Fellowship program serves as an opportunity for scholar-practitioners to engage with a growing worldwide community that makes use of the CMM theory to make better social worlds. We do not expect prospective fellows to be well-versed in CMM at the start, but some working knowledge is helpful. Participation in the program can expect to make connections and support to further grow your knowledge and context.
  • Cosmopolis 2045 and Cosmokidz: Two programs offered by CMMI are specifically geared towards envisioning and enabling a future where citizens are equipped with the tools and practices of CMM, particularly those related to “Cosmopolitan Communication”. This year, we anticipate a special emphasis on Fellowships that either further develop or pioneer the use of Cosmokidz resources in teaching or expand our vision for a “Cosmopolitan future” by applying CMM to particular aspects of society.
  • Circular Questioning: A systems approach to family therapy that draws on CMM and other social constructionist principles that helps to analyze and intervene in complex social processes, using lineal, circular, strategic, and reflexive questions. Learn more here
  • To help you prepare your Fellowship application, you ca  learn more about CMM theory and resources, and both the Cosmokidz and Cosmopolis 2045 programs at the CMM Institute website.
  • The CMM Institute offers a range of learning resources to engage with CMM and a community of scholars and practitioners who use it. For more information about the CMM Institute, contact Kim Pearce at [email protected].