The establishment of the World Olive Center for Health in Greece
The idea for the World Olive Center for Health was inspired by Dr. Eleni Melliou, and as she announced at the Old Parliament 2017 during the “Olympia Health and Nutrition Awards 2017” event, the Center is a non-profit organization aiming to provide certification for olive oil with a health claim, training of producers and targeted research on the emergence of the health protecting and therapeutic properties of all olive products, having as ultimate target the increase of their economic value. In parallel, the center is a deliverable of the European program INTERREG MED “ARISTOIL”.
Two great Greeks of the diaspora, Professor Diomedes Logothetis of the Northeastern University (Boston), who is one of the five founding members of the center, and Professor Stephanos Kales, from Harvard Medical School, who is also an honorary member of the Center, are participating in the great and extremely innovative effort of establishing the World Olive Center for Health.
The other founding members of the World Olive Center are:
President: Dr. Eleni Melliou – Department of Pharmacy, University of Athens
Vice President: Emeritus Professor Georgios Baltopoulos M.D, Department of Nursing, University of Athens.
General Secretary: Associate Professor Prokopios Magiatis Department of Pharmacy, University of Athens.
Professor Diomedes Logothetis – Northeastern University, Boston
Assistant Professor Maria Nikolantonaki, University of Burgundy, Dijon.
Also, the honorary members of the Center include Dan Flynn, the philhellene and director of the Olive Center of the University of Davis, California.
All of them with the help of hundreds of olive oil producers from Greece and abroad who immediately declared their support, laid the foundations for an international effort that will focus on Greece for the first time in the modern history of olive oil.
A few words for the logo of World Olive Center for Health
The logo is made up of an ancient olive tree that symbolizes the birth of this tree in Greece, but instead of leaves, the olive has “orbits” and instead of electrons the orbits have olives, something like the “atom” under the chemical term. It is said that Democritus, the father of chemistry, inspired the concept of “atom” and thus the concept of “molecule” from the olive tree. In ancient times the sacred olive tree was called “Moria” (the Greek word for molecule) and when they wanted to plant a new olive, they cut off the “young” branches that were grafted and the new trees kept the properties of the original tree in the same way as all molecules keep the same properties.
It is indeed touching that the greatest ideas were created from this country and spread throughout the world such as Democracy-Pericles, the basic theory of chemistry (atom-molecule) -Democritus, theorems of geometry-Pythagoras, Physics-Archimedes but also great philosophical ideas such as those inspired by Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and so many other great ones.
The message from the World Olive Center for Health is that this country, called Hellas (Greece), can still innovate and spread new ideas globally. In a very simplistic way, therefore, to continue with the symbolism of the logo, the NMR method uses the electrons (orbits) properties at the top of the tree-logo to analyze with the highest speed and accuracy any sample of olive oil.
The non-profit World Olive Center has as its main objective the money it will receive either from services or from donations to be reinvested it in research and promotion of olive oil in order to contribute in its way to the economic and intellectual regeneration of the country and the olive sector worldwide.
Pnyka – symbolic adoption of olive tree
Yes, it is true! Ultimately, the economic crisis that has plagued Greece for nearly seven years has managed to mobilize forces that have been in lethargy for years and bring them to the forefront of innovation.
All economic and social analysts at the start of the crisis have said that this negative situation may be the trigger for the emergence of major changes, but it was logical that it took several years to incubate until the time came to come to the forefront.
The truth is that Greece is by its nature endowed with some unique advantages, which have very ancient roots. Ηowever, the indifference of the past decades had literally managed to inactivate them.
One of the most important advantages is the big number of ancient varieties of olives grown in our country for thousands of years and which is ultimately proven by modern science to be the world’s best source for the production of olive oil with health-protecting characteristics and mainly because of their ability to produce high-oleocanthal olive oil, a substance that has been related to a number of beneficial properties for health.
This big advantage, that was revealed after long-term research, has given the motivation to two Greek scientists, Eleni Melliou and Professor Prokopios Magiatis from the University of Athens to establish the non-profit World Olive Center for Health (WOCH) in Greece.
Its foundation was announced at a glorious event in the crowded Old Parliament on May 11, 2017, on the occasion of the Olympia Health & Nutrition Awards ceremony, in the presence of the deputy minister of rural development, deputies and representatives of local and regional governments.
With more than 800 entries from 7 countries in 2017, and 2500 for 2018 these awards, known as the “Olympic Games of Olive Oil”, are today becoming the biggest international competition, but based on the criterion of health protection and not just taste, as it has been so far.
In the morning of the same day, the creation of the Center was symbolically honored by the adoption of an Olive Tree in the area of Pnyx, in the place where the power of ancient Greece was born. The olive was grafted by father Georgios from the Metropolis of Mesogaia with the Olympia variety that is found in ancient Olympia. Variety Olympia was recently discovered in 2016 by Dr. Eleni Melliou and the Associate Professor Prokopios Magiatis.
The adoption and grafting of the Olive tree in Pnyka wanted to symbolize the revolution that has begun in Greece in the olive oil sector and is now expanding dynamically to all over the world.
This symbolic adoption took place in the presence of Dan Flynn, director of the Olive Center at Davis, California, and the famous Greek Cypriot entrepreneur George David. The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Minister of Rural Development, Mr. Kokkalis, Professor Diomedes Logothetis from the Northeastern University of Boston, Professor Stephan Kales from Harvard University, Nikos Krimnianiotis Director of the Efxini Poli as well as a number of producers and scientists passionate with the olive trees.