Beth Fisher-Yoshida Discusses Coordinated Management of Meaning and Sustainable Peace

The academic director of the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (NECR) program Beth Fisher-Yoshida and NECR alumna Venera Kusari participated in a conversation on the WKCR radio show “Conversations From the Leading Edge” to discuss Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) as a technique for resolving conflict within communities.

To explain the theory and practice of CMM, Dr. Fisher-Yoshida recounted its origins as a reaction to a “back-and-forth transmission model” of communication, where messages and meanings were transferred from one person to the other, to a model that “creates this opportunity to create meaning with other people in relationship.”

The professor described the ways that CMM has been integrated in the NECR program at Columbia: “CMM...shapes how you think. I wanted it to be an integral part of the program...to present it as another way of looking at things. We need to entertain different perspectives in the field of conflict resolution. Part of the issue of conflict is that we have cognitive rigidity: we get very stuck in a certain mindset. CMM allows for flexibility and agility in our thinking.”

Venera Kusari, who has worked extensively with international NGOs in conflict and post-conflict scenarios, described how CMM will be implemented in her current project in her home country, Kosovo: “Since the war, there haven’t been many projects that are focused in communication between people and within communities. CMM is perfect for that. It focuses on mindfulness and making meaning within your identity and interaction with others, understanding the context in which you are operating, learning how to live with mystery, how to make meaning of our lives and our world.” She went on to describe CMM as “invaluable in any aspect of our lives but also influential in Kosovo.”

Listen to the full discussion with professor Beth Fisher-Yoshida and NECR alumna Venera Kusari.