BOG 2018: MiLa Center to Explore Age-Old Dilemma
What comes first, language or thought? Which cognitive processes are involved when we produce and understand language? And what happens when these processes are impaired, for example after stroke or in neurodegenerative diseases? These thorny questions have occupied philosophers, psychologists and linguists for generations – and are now at the heart of TAU’s new Cukier, Goldstein-Goren Center for Mind, Cognition and Language – also known as “the MiLa Center.”
The MiLa Center brings together scientists from fields as diverse as psychology, linguistics and computer science to explore the connections between language and consciousness. Basic research conducted at the Center will build up knowledge in the field, while applications will lead to novel therapies for language disabilities such as dyslexia, aphasia following stroke, autism and other developmental disorders.
The Center will be run in the framework of TAU’s Sagol School of Neuroscience, which brings together 120 research groups from Life Sciences, Medicine, Social Sciences, Exact Sciences and Engineering, as well as clinicians at TAU-affiliated medical centers.
The MiLa Center was established by members of the extended Cukier and Goldstein-Goren family, through their family foundation, which was founded by the late TAU benefactor Avram Goldstein-Goren. Past projects supported by the Foundation include the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center and the Center for the Study of the History of Romanian Jews, among others.
The new Center will award fellowships and grants to PhD students and post-doctoral researchers investigating topics at the interface of mind, cognition and language. It will foster interdisciplinary collaborations and joint research projects across the TAU campus, including dedicated training, education and mentoring programs for students and the purchase of equipment.
The MiLa Center was inaugurated in the presence of family members: Mrs. Micaela Goren Monti, daughter of Avram Goldstein-Goren and President of the Goldstein-Goren Foundation; her son, Prof. Martin Monti; and TAU Governor Selina Goren Komeran, together with daughters Elior and Amaris. Speaking at the ceremony, Micaela said, “I want to thank my siblings for sharing in this new project and particularly my niece, Selina, for all the work and energy she has put into it. Selina’s daughters, Elior and Amaris, who are here today, represent the fourth generation of the family at TAU and the Foundation’s link to the future,” she said.
TAU President Joseph Klafter said, “Micaela, Martin and Selina, we see you as partners in the breakthroughs that we are working to achieve. You and your family are loyal friends of Tel Aviv University and Israel. You have been key contributors over the years to enhancing our work on campus – starting with your beloved late father and grandfather Avram and the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center, as well as other generous gifts.”
Prof. Klafter praised Selina Goren-Komeran in particular for her “deep commitment to the University, which shines through your involvement in various Board committees and activities, and your many visits to the campus,” he said. “The Cukier, Goldstein-Goren family is indeed an outstanding symbol of continuity here at TAU. We hope to continue partnering with you in advancing world-class research and teaching – and together, in enhancing quality of life in Israel and around the world.”
Other speakers at the ceremony were Prof. Naama Friedman, MiLa Center Director, and Prof. Yaniv Assaf, Head of the Sagol School of Neuroscience. The keynote lecture was delivered by Prof. Martin Monti, a member of the Department of Psychology and Department of Neurosurgery, Brain Research Center at UCLA. Also attending were Mayor Tel Aviv-Yaffo and TAU Honorary Doctor Ron Huldai.