In honor of the homecoming of the Olympic Summer Games of 2004 to Athens, Greece, the Athens Environmental Foundation created the “Global Olive Wreath” project. This project was a massive international effort to plant trees, along the Olympic torch route, to form a Global Olive Wreath on Earth. This massive effort of unprecedented human collaboration was intended to leave a living legacy of peaceful dedication to the Ancient Greek Olympic ideals as well as the modern Olympic ideal of environmental responsibility.

The torch passed through all the major continents, beginning in Olympia, Greece and ending in Athens, Greece. Every city that has ever hosted an Olympic Summer Games, plus the cities of Cairo, Cape Town, Rio De Janeiro, Las Vegas, New York, Lausanne, and Nicosia held tree-planting ceremonies, reflecting a worldwide commitment to environmental responsibility, peace and prosperity. AEF also extended “branches” of the Global Olive Wreath to some of the most troubled cities in the world, including Jerusalem, Belfast, Ramallah and Baghdad.

Under the supervision of the International Society of Arboriculture, the project created a Green Highway along the torch route with linear forests that will stand as living testaments to the Olympic Ideals of Sport, Culture, Environment and Peace, all of which are exemplified in the purity of the Olive Tree.

Below are some photographs taken in participating cities from around the globe:

Lexington, Kentucky – April 27, 2003. Olympic medalists Jim Wofford of the United States and Phillip Dutton of Australia joined other Olympic athletes from around the world who are championing the environment as part of the Global Olive Wreath project, created by the Athens Environmental Foundation (AEF).

Students and Faculty at the International School of Brunei displaying their “Spirit of Athena” Award given by the Athens Environmental Foundation.

Students at Henryville Elementary in Henryville, Indiana, assemble to share the Olympic Spirit at the Global Olive Wreath celebration with Olympian Doug Sharp.


Olympic Year Global Olive Wreath ceremony and celebration at Ramat Gan, Israel. From left: Yair Pantilant 1960 Olympian, Professor Urion Gallin-Galler Olympian and Secretary General, Israeli Olympians Association, Alexis Mitzopoulous, 1st Secretary Greek Embassy, Aliza Berger, Ramat Gan City Council, and school children plant one of 21 trees in a grove dedicated to the Global Olive Wreath.

A tree is planted to honor the homecoming of the Olympics to Greece at Kemer School in Istanbul, Turkey.

UNEP Communications Director Eric Falt with AEF Director Margaret O’Donnell at the G-ForSE Conference in Tokyo, November 14-15 2003. An Olive tree was dedicated at the event to be planted at the Tokyo Olympic Center in honor of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and AEF’s Global Olive Wreath Project.