UAE is fifth most empathetic nation
he UAE has been ranked the fifth most empathetic country in the world, according to a study carried out by American psychologists.
The study by Michigan State University saw experts survey 104,000 people from 63 different countries and measured compassion for others and their tendency to imagine others’ points of view.
Ecuador came in first place, followed by Saudi Arabia, Peru, Denmark, the UAE, South Korea, the US, Taiwan, Costa Rica and Kuwait.
The same university has previously sought to measure empathy but this is the first time it has surveyed and ranked countries.
William Chopik, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Michigan State, who led the study, said it was not clear why some Middle East nations scored so high.
But Lisa Richards, who works for Gulf for Good, a registered charity that runs adventure challenges, from which the fees go to disadvantaged communities around the world, said the findings are not surprising.
Richards suggested that a divide between rich and poor in the UAE creates a feeling among many that they “need to” help.
She said: “A lot of our challengers are very aware of the privileged lifestyle that they are
fortunate enough to lead in the UAE. There are also many people living here that don’t have the opportunities and we are surrounded by this on a daily basis, whether it’s in the news or in the city.
“People want to give back. They feel that they need to.”
Sultan Al Shehi, who manages Emirates Red Crescent’s Saving Grace campaign, sees tonnes of leftover food donated to the less fortunate.
Al Shehi said that the campaign was able to give away more than 40,000 meals to the needy this past Ramadan because restaurant managers were so “generous”.
“The culture of the people in the UAE is very generous,” said Al Shehi. “But the people who want to help do need some guidance. For example, you should care about the good for the people. Don’t just do kind acts because you want to look good to others, but because you really care about that person.”
The Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development labelled the UAE as the biggest foreign aid donor in 2014. It had made a total contribution of Dhs18.36 billion of developmental aid and the country spent 1.26 per cent of gross national income on foreign developmental aid.