Michel DeGraff (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Michel DeGraff

Michel DeGraff is Professor of linguistics at MIT, co-founder of the MIT-Haiti Initiative and founding member of Akademi Kreyòl Ayisyen.  His research contributes to an egalitarian and uniformitarian approach to Creole languages.  His writings also engage intellectual history and critical race theory, especially the links between power-knowledge hierarchies and (mis)representations of Creole languages and their speakers. His work is anchored in a broader agenda for human rights and social justice, with Haiti as one spectacular case of post-colonies where the national language spoken by all (Haitian Creole) is disenfranchised while the colonial language spoken by few (French) is enlisted for élite closure and geo-political control.  The MIT-Haiti Initiative (, http://MIT-Ayiti.NET) tackles these political challenges heads-on as it tries to democratize access to quality education in Haiti.  More details at:,,, 

Katja Liebal (Leipzig University)

Katja Liebal is a comparative psychologist and biologist at Leipzig University, interested in the multimodal communication of primates and the question what other apes’ gestures and facial expressions can (and cannot) tell us about the evolution of human language.

Asifa Majid (University of York)

Asifa Majid is an Inspirational Research Leader and Professor of Language, Communication, and Cultural Cognition at the University of York, UK. She investigates concepts in language and cognition by conducting cross-cultural, interdisciplinary studies and by tracing how concepts develop over a child’s lifetime within different cultural contexts.

Albert Newen (Ruhr University Bochum)

Dr. Albert Newen became full professor of philosophy at the Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB) in 2007, one of the top twelve leading research universities of Germany. His central research areas are philosophy of mind and cognition as well as philosophy of language. Furthermore, he is the director of the interdisciplinary Center for Mind and Cognition at RUB since 2011, was president of the German Society for Cognitive Science (2018-2020) and since 2017, he is the speaker of an interdisciplinary Research Training Group (based in Bochum and Osnabrück) working on “Situated Cognition” (DFG-Graduiertenkolleg). Recently appeared: Newen, de Bruin, Gallagher (eds): Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition, Oxford: OUP (2018). Central research topics are: Theories of SELF and agency; Theories of understanding others; Theories of emotion, perception and cognition; Theories of animal cognition and comparative cognition;

Cailin O’Connor (University of California Irvine)

Cailin O’Connor is a philosopher of science and applied mathematician specializing in models of social interaction.  She is Associate Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science and a member of the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Science at the University of California, Irvine.  She is currently co-administering the NSF Grant Consensus, Democracy, and the Public Understanding of Science.  Her book ‘The Misinformation Age’, co-authored with James Owen Weatherall, was published in 2019 with Yale Press, and her book ‘The Origins of Unfairness’ was also published in 2019 with Oxford University Press.  

Asli Ozyurek (Radboud University)

Prof. Asli Ozyurek investigates the role language plays, as a dynamic, adaptive and flexible system, in human (neuro) cognition and communication. She uses a crosslinguistic and multimodal approach, as in the use of gestures used during speaking by hearing communities and sign languages used by deaf communities, to understand the neural, cognitive and social foundations of how language is structured, used and can be created (when not accessible) in embodied and situated contexts through our bodily actions.
Prof. Dr. Asli Ozyurek is a Professor and Principle Investigator at the Donders Institute at Radboud University Nijmegen and at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics . She is the Director of the Multimodal Language and Cognition lab.
Ozyurek completed her BA in Psychology at Bogazici University in Istanbul Turkey and earned a double PhD degree in Psychology and Linguistics from University of Chicago and is full Professor since 2010 at Radboud University. She has received many career grants such as ERC Starting Grant, Dutch Science foundation VIDI and VICI grants, and hosted many Marie Curie Individual Fellowships. She is an elected member of Academia Europea and has received an ASPASIA award from Dutch Science Foundation and Young Scientist award from Turkish Science Foundation. She has publications in Science, PNAS, Cognition, Psychological Science, J of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuroimage, Cerebral Cortex among others.