UAE is fifth most em­pa­thetic na­tion

7 Days in Dubai - - SPECIAL REPORT -

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.

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