World Olive Day: Celebrating a Global Treasure

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By Francesco Serafini, President The Garden of Peace

World Olive Day: Celebrating a Global Treasure

The olive tree is a plant of great historical and cultural significance that transcends geographical boundaries, and such is the importance of this plant and the values it symbolises that in 2019, the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) has established the ‘World Olive Tree Day’ celebrated on 26 November. This unanimously supported initiative has the ambitious goal of protecting the olive tree and promoting the values of peace, wisdom, and harmony that this majestic plant represents.

Celebrating the Wealth of the Olive Tree

World Olive Day is more than just a commemoration; it is a tribute to the cultural and symbolic richness of the olive tree. This special day aims to raise global awareness of the importance of olive growing and olive oil. But it is not just about celebrating a product, it is about recognising the contribution of this tree on many different levels.

A Global Call for the Protection of the Olive Tree

In a simple yet solemn text, the UNESCO resolution calls on governments and institutions around the world to recognise the intrinsic value of the olive tree as a custodian of our planet. This call reflects the growing awareness of the crucial role that the olive tree plays in promoting sustainable economic and social development. In addition, the olive tree takes a leading role in the fight against climate change, a major global challenge. The message is clear: by protecting the olive tree, we care for our planet and preserve the health of present and future generations.

A Shared Commitment to Peace and Harmony

Besides being a valuable asset for human health and the environment, the olive tree embodies the core values of peace, wisdom, and harmony. These values are deeply rooted in its thousand-year history and in its branches that extend beyond borders. World Olive Day is an opportunity to reflect on how these universal values can be promoted through a tree that symbolises rebirth and longevity.

The Key International Organisation: The International Olive Council

The International Olive Council (IOC) is an intergovernmental organisation based in Madrid, Spain, that plays a crucial role in promoting the olive oil industry. Founded in 1959, this organisation works to promote collaboration between olive oil producing countries, regulate the market, and ensure high quality standards.

During World Olive Day, the IOC plays a key role in organising events, conferences, and initiatives that raise public awareness about the challenges and opportunities of the olive oil and table olive industry. This includes campaigns to promote awareness on olive oil quality, as well as efforts to encourage environmental sustainability.

Celebrations in Different Parts of the World

The member countries of the International Olive Council account for more than 95 per cent of the entire world production of olive oil and table olives. Therefore, on the occasion of this important day dedicated to the olive tree and its products, all the IOC member countries are organising special initiatives aimed at raising awareness of the sector’s specificities and promoting the products of this wonderful and mystical plant.


In conclusion, World Olive Day is a global celebration of a plant that unites cultures and communities. It is a reminder of the importance of the olive tree not only in our diet, but also in our cultural heritage, our health, and the ecology of our planet. In a world where environmental awareness and the promotion of universal values are paramount, this special day represents a shared commitment to peace and harmony through the olive tree, a global treasure to be preserved.

World Olive Day is a special occasion to reflect on the importance of olive growing and olive oil around the world. Through the work of the International Olive Council and celebrations in various countries, this day helps to promote peace, sustainability, and the sharing of the cultural resources associated with olive oil. Each year, the ‘olive family’ therefore celebrates 26 November by coming together to celebrate this global treasure, recognising its importance in our daily lives.


Francesco Serafini worked for 23 years at the IOC as head of the Department of Research Development and Environment. He is currently president of the association “The Garden of Peace” and honorary president of the association “Olivares Monumentales de Andalucía”.

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