Thich Nhat Hanh
Doctor of Social Sciences
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is an influential spiritual leader, writer and global peace activist. He was born in Vietnam in 1926, ordained as a Buddhist monk at the age of 16, and has dedicated his life to humanitarian work and world peace.
During the Vietnam War years, he was well known as a champion for peace and as a key organiser and provider of social services for the needy. His compassionate efforts to help relieve those suffering and in need, have touched countless people. Nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967, the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr called him "a holy man, a scholar of immense intellectual capacity."
In 1982, he founded the Plum Village in southern France, to continue with his humanitarian work and to establish a peaceful site for practicing mindfulness through meditation. He was invited to speak to the United States Congress in 2003 and 2011, the House of Lords in the UK and the Irish Parliament in 2012.
He has published more than 100 works, many of which were bestsellers in Europe and America, and translated into more than 30 languages.
He has frequently delivered public lectures and held retreats in Hong Kong, co-organized by the HKU Centre of Buddhist Studies, together with other institutions and Buddhist organisations, which have attracted many thousands of participants, both HKU members and those from the Hong Kong community.
In recognition of his contributions to world peace and humanity, the University has resolved to confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa.