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YSPH International Olive Oil and Health Symposium to be Held in Legendary City of Delphi

October 22, 2019
by Michael Greenwood

Taking a cue from the ancient Greeks and their deep respect for the olive tree and the oil produced from its fruit, researchers led by the Yale School of Public Health are hosting a symposium in December in the legendary city of Delphi to explore the many human and planetary health benefits associated with the olive tree and its products.

The second Yale International Symposium on Olive Oil and Health will bring together a host of international speakers with diverse areas of expertise for four days to explore the current state and future directions of the olive tree and its products.

The symposium runs from December 1 to 4 at the European Cultural Center of Delphi.

“This is the much anticipated next step after the success of the first symposium in New Haven last October; and what better place for the world of olive oil to meet other than what the ancient world considered as the center of the universe,” said Professor Vasilis Vasiliou, Ph.D., and Tassos Kyriakides, Ph.D. ’99, associate research scientist, both of the Yale School of Public Health, and organizers of the event along with colleagues from Spain, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Japan, Tunisia, Cyprus and the United States.

The Yale School of Public Health is seeking to launch the Yale Institute for Olive Sciences and Health, which would be devoted to the scientific exploration of the olive tree, its products and their derivatives and ways to further integrate the fruit and its products into peoples’ nutrition. The institute would also focus on planetary health issues, including sustainability, circular economies and climate change.

In keeping with the overarching motif of health, the symposium’s first session will be devoted to nutrition. It will look at olive-based nutrition through the lens of the clinician, the farmer and the chef. Participants will also sample olive oils.

The symposium’s interest in health goes beyond human health and extends to planetary health. Another session will be devoted to sustainability and will explore ways that the multi-billion-dollar olive oil industry can reduce waste and carbon emissions. Economic and social sustainability will be part of the discussion with presentations of olive oil brands and their business strategies.

Three more sessions will address broad themes relevant to the future of the olive. They include:

• Diversity in farm environments, cultivars and production methods.

Throughout history, the olive tree has been nourishing and connecting people and cultures.

Vasilis Vasiliou and Tassos Kyriakides

• Product styles and producers.

• Consumers and current trends in love oil usage.

Each program session will conclude with a roundtable discussion and Q&A period.

The culinary and flavor aspect of olives and olive oil will also be an integral theme throughout the program. The symposium will offer guided tastings of olive oils and table olives, as well as culinary demonstrations. To further honor the cultural heritage of the olive and a region in which it thrives, there will be mill and grove visits, and an archaeological tour of the Delphi site.

A gala dinner will showcase the intersection of culinary tradition and olive innovation.

“Throughout history, the olive tree has been nourishing and connecting peoples and cultures. We would be remiss if we missed this opportunity to explore and advance what Olea Europaea, this magnificent tree, has to offer us. Join us in Delphi in December,” said Vasilou and Kyriakides.

Learn more about the event and register at

Submitted by Sayuri Gavaskar on October 22, 2019