On behalf of the Executive Office and the Council of the MNS, I would like to welcome you to this first issue of the MNS News letter, wishing you a happy new year 2011. The MNS has just celebrated its first year. It is thus an extremely young society, which we hope will grow into an efficient organization meant to play a regional as well as an international role in the development of Neuroscience...
The MNS was born as a natural development of interactions among mediterranean neuroscientists. Thanks to the initiative of Dr. Yehezkel Ben Ari (Marseille), the 1st meeting took place in 1997 in Montpellier (France) under the banner of “Mediterranean Neuroscience Conference”. The experience was repeated 9 years later, thanks to Prof. Mohamed Bennis (Marrakech). This edition of the conference gathered more than 200 participants, who took this opportunity to decide on the date/place on the next meeting. Dr. Marie Moftah (Alexandria) volunteered to organize the 3rd meeting in Egypt. This 3rd highly successful meeting took place in the prestigious Bibliotheca Alexandrina (December 2009), and attracted more than 250 participants from all around the world. It is here that a general assembly decided to create the MNS, after important and open debates. In particular, the participants exchanged their views on whether to create a Society, a Federation of societies, or something else ! The vast majority voted in favor of creating a Society, hence the birth of the MNS, whose bylaws were discussed, and 1st Council members elected.
I am honored to be the 1st President of the MNS, but I have to admit that I am impressed by the challenge this task presents. With the Council members, we realize that it will take time to setup operational bodies and reach a level of maturity that will enable us to propose (and carry out) attractive and useful activities to the community. Our first task is to prepare the next meeting, to be held in Istanbul (Turkey), from June 30th to July 4th, 2012. But we have also started a cylce of annual MNS Neuroscience School, the 1st edition taking place in Samsun (Turkey) next July. Ultimately, we hope to develop supporting grants for students and young reserchers to attend other societies’ meetings, and organize local events towards schools, professionals and large public.
The scientific challenge of advancing the frontiers of knowledge on brain function and dysfunction in disease is a worldwide entreprise. It requires a close exchange of knowledge and know-how through scientific meetings, higher education, and advocating for political and public support for research.
The MNS will contribute to this endeavor, joining existing national and international organizations. But beyond science, in this particular moment in time where the mediterranean region undergoes historical changes, it is our duty as scientists to contribute to building a better world.