Peace and environment activist receives Honorary Doctorate


A former monk and long-term peace and environmental activist, Satish Kumar, has today (Friday, July 6) been awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of science) by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.


Satish Kumar has been quietly setting the global agenda for change for over 50 years. He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains, and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality.

Inspired in his early 20s by the example of the British peace activist Bertrand Russell, Satish embarked on an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage. Carrying no money and depending on the kindness and hospitality of strangers, he and a colleague walked from India to America, via Moscow, London and Paris, to deliver a humble packet of ‘peace tea’ to the leaders of the world’s then four nuclear powers.

On presenting Satish Kumar to the congregation Pro Vice-Chancellor for External Engagement and Sustainability, Dr Jane Davidson said:

“I am deeply honoured to introduce Satish Kumar, Editor Emeritus of the Resurgence and Ecologist magazine and a long time peace and environment activist to this congregation.  I have been privileged to know Satish for many years.  He has an extraordinary ability to question established orthodoxy by asking whether we value in our developed societies is what we would really want to value for ourselves. 

How do we reward such a life?  We are not the first university to award Satish an Honorary Doctorate – what is most interesting is that they have not been able to agree on what his achievement represent – literature or law.  But for me, he does defy normal description and I am confident that just as he was inspired by Bertrand Russell and Gandhi before him, he is an earth pilgrim who will campaign for a better world till the end of his days.  As he says, ‘we need to learn to live in the here and now.  This moment is the best moment.  Live it fully.’  Satish, it is a privilege knowing you.”

Jane a Satish

On receiving the award at the ceremony Satish Kumar said:

“This is a great privilege for me as today I am a Doctor of Science.  I’d like to thank the University, the Vice Chancellor and Dr Jane Davidson for giving me this honour and setting me on a new mission and a new path to bring science and spirituality together.”

In 1973 Satish settled in the UK becoming the editor of Resurgence magazine, a position he held until 2016, making him the UK’s longest- serving editor of the same magazine. During this time, he has been the guiding spirit behind a number of now internationally respected ecological and educational ventures. He co- founded Schumacher College in South Devon, where he is a Visiting Fellow.

In his 50th year, Satish undertook another pilgrimage – again carrying no money. This time, he walked 2,000 miles to the holy places of Britain, a venture he describes as a celebration of his love of life and nature. In July 2000 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education from the University of Plymouth.

In 2001, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of Lancaster, and was also presented with the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for promoting Gandhian values outside India. In 2009 Satish was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws (LLD) by the University of Exeter. In 2013 he was made Doctor of the University by the University of Suffolk. A year later he was appointed an Oxfam UK Ambassador. Satish is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Gross National Happiness Centre of Bhutan.

His autobiography, No Destination, first published by Green Books in 1978, has sold over 50,000 copies. He is also the author of You Are, Therefore I Am: A Declaration of Dependence, The Buddha and the Terrorist, Earth Pilgrim and Soil, Soul, Society.

In recognition of his commitment to animal welfare and compassionate living, he was elected vice-president of the RSPCA. He continues to teach and run workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity and is a much sought-after speaker both in the UK and abroad.


Further Information

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