Today, the University of Barcelona (UB) and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) announced the creation of the Torribera Mediterranean Center (TMC), a joint initiative and new academic center focused on Mediterranean food, health, and culinary innovation. The Barcelona-based partnership leverages the strengths of two leading educational institutions to address vital public health and sustainability issues through expanded academic, professional, and business collaboration.
The Center will work to preserve and advance adoption of Mediterranean dietary patterns, focusing on connecting leading-edge food and nutrition research with culinary, agricultural, and business innovation. TMC is open to Mediterranean, European, and other international partners.
The TMC is based at the Food and Nutrition Campus of the University of Barcelona at Santa Coloma de Gramenet. The Center offers two master's degrees with a focus on the Mediterranean Diet—past, present, and future—and a proposed Mediterranean concentration program for CIA bachelor's students. The academic programs at TMC are inspired by the traditional food cultures of the Mediterranean region and led by faculty from the UB and CIA, in collaboration with other universities and organizations around the world. The Center will also develop and conduct joint research projects combining nutrition and health, sustainability, food experience design, and food preference and food behavior change.
Through its conferences, symposia, and digital media initiatives, the Center will host chefs, culinary scholars, public health leaders, journalists, policy makers, and other international experts to develop strategies to translate the existing scientific evidence for the health and sustainability of the Mediterranean Diet into action.
"While the Torribera Mediterranean Center will have a strong, physical presence here at the University of Barcelona, the work of the Center will embrace the entire Mediterranean Basin and will have impacts internationally as we work with other collaborators to enhance the health and sustainability of global food systems and dietary patterns," says Dr. Joan Elias Garcia, rector of the University of Barcelona. "At the same time, working with our colleagues at The Culinary Institute of America, we have to redouble our efforts to preserve this gift of heritage that is the Mediterranean Diet, for this and future generations worldwide."
"The traditional Mediterranean Diet is the most heavily researched and documented cultural model for healthy eating," says CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan. "This ground-breaking academic center will, for the first time, bring together academics, chefs, other professionals, and business leaders from around the world to accelerate positive impacts tied to this delicious UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. As part of our continuing global outreach, we are honored to co-launch this partnership with the University of Barcelona to underscore the enhanced role that interdisciplinary scholarship, translational research, and marketplace innovation needs to play in advancing healthy, sustainable food choices."
The development of the Center and its programs will be guided by three stakeholder councils: leading scientists and technical experts from around the world (Scientific and Technical Advisory Council); chefs, food critics, regional cooks, food studies scholars, and other food and drink experts (Culinary and Foods Studies Council); and representatives of top Mediterranean institutions, companies, and producers in agriculture, food, beverage, public health, and other hospitality disciplines (Business Leadership and Innovation Council).
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