Mata Amritanandamayi, spiritual leader and Chancellor of the Amrita University, received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree of the State University of New York (SUNY) at a conferral ceremony held on the SUNY's University of Buffalo (UB) north campus centre on Tuesday.

A statement from the Mata Amritanandamayi Math at Amritapuri, near here, on Wednesday said that while selecting the Mata for the degree, SUNY described her as a “distinguished and beloved humanitarian and spiritual leader who is internationally regarded for her tireless efforts on behalf of global peace, her commitment to education and the far-reaching impact of her charitable organisations in relieving poverty and human suffering in India and around the world.”

The honorary degree is in recognition of her “commitment to expanding educational opportunities, international cooperation and her extraordinary humanitarian service which includes the relief efforts she spearheaded for the victims of the December 2004 tsunami devastation.”

The statement said that since 2006, the UB and Amrita University had partnered on collaborative activities that included a dual master's degree programme in management and computer science.

While addressing the ceremony, UB president John B. Simpson said: “Amma exemplifies the value of international dialogue and dedicated public service in the global arena. These are values at the core of the UB's mission as an internationalised public university seeking to prepare students to contribute meaningfully to the global world.”

As part of the ceremony, the Mata delivered a speech on education in which she stressed the inclusion of universal spiritual values in core curricula, the role of meditation and the complementary relationship of scientific knowledge and spiritual wisdom.