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NeuroBridges—Bridging the gap between Arab, Israeli, and German neuroscientists

From July 29 to 31, 2014, the international conference NeuroBridges took place for the first time in Göttingen. It brought together Arab, Israeli, and German neuroscientists with the aim to promote scientific collaborations and cross-cultural understanding (August 2014).

"From a scientific point of view, we intend to foster an exchange between experimental and theoretical neuroscientists," says Ahmed El Hady at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen. He is one of three members of the conference organizing committee which also includes Tim Gollisch at the Bernstein Center Göttingen and Yonatan Loewenstein at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel). To encourage the scientific dialogue, the conference participants reported on their latest findings in the field of Systems and Computational Neuroscience. The topics ranged from research on memory function to epilepsy and brain-machine interfaces.

Aside from the scientific discussion, the organizers regard the intercultural exchange as an important goal of the event. "We think that scientists have a responsibility beyond their own research—they should promote common understanding between people from different nations," El Hady explains. The organizers invited 21 speakers; seven of them are Arab, seven Israeli, and seven German scientists. The side program, which included a dinner and a city tour, was designed to encourage personal exchange of ideas and to establish new collaborations between the participants. "Scientific collaborations often lead to personal relations and may therefore—in the long run—alleviate the political distress between Arabs and Israelis," El Hady describes his hopes. The NeuroBridges symposium is not planned as a one-time event—it is thought to be the start of an anually held symposium for Arab, Israeli, and German neuroscientists.

More information: please see website of the NeuroBridges Conference