Honorary degree for Japanese benefactor

Japanese philanthropist Dr Haruhisa Handa has been awarded an honorary degree by the University.

Dr Handa received the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa in recognition of his support for education, health, the arts and sport.

The businessman is recognised for his commitment to improving the lives of disadvantaged people around the world.

Charity work

Dr Handa’s philanthropic and humanitarian work has included the founding of a free emergency hospital in Cambodia.

He is Honorary Chairman of the Japanese Blind Golf Association, Honorary Patron of the World Blind Golf Association and Vice-president of the UK’s Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Handa Chair of Japanese-Chinese Relations

Dr Handa established the Handa Chair of Japanese-Chinese Relations at the University of Edinburgh in 2010.

Based in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures the post holder works closely with the Centre for Japanese Studies, the Scottish Centre for Chinese Studies and the Confucius Institute for Scotland, which is based at the University of Edinburgh.

The current Handa Chair is Professor Urs Matthias Zachmann, Head of Asian Studies.


Dr Handa’s qualifications include an economics degree from Doshisha University in Kyoto.

He also has a Masters degree in creative arts from Edith Cowan University, a PhD in Literature from Tsinghua University and a PhD in literature from Zhejiang University.

World Sports Values Summit for Peace

The graduation ceremony took place at the World Sports Values Summit for Peace in Cape Town, South Africa.

The annual event, founded by Dr Handa, enables young people, athletes and scholars from around the world to discuss how sport can help to foster peace and promote human rights.

Dr Handa has played a significant role in expanding areas of teaching and research on East Asia at the University of Edinburgh. In recognition of this and his many other worldwide initiatives which have made transformational impacts, it is a great privilege to present him with one of our highest honours, a doctorate of the University.

Professor James SmithVice Principal International