Fulbright scholar to research community service attitudes in the UAE

Rebecca Donaldson will spend the next year in the Emirates to study how Emiratis approach voluntary service.

DUBAI // Rebecca Donaldson has visited 22 countries in two years - from the UK to Uganda to the UAE. But the American hasn't gone for the sights. Or the museums. Or the food or the beaches. Ms Donaldson, 24, goes to meet the people, to see things from their perspective and learn what they care about.

During a brief trip to the UAE in 2009, she said she gazed up at the Burj Khalifa and had tea at the Burj al Arab. It was impressive, she said, but unsatisfying. "I got to see these landmarks, but I didn't actually get to talk to anybody in Dubai who is an Emirati," she said. Now Ms Donaldson, who goes by the name Becca, is coming back to do just that. The recent university graduate has won the prestigious one-year US Fulbright scholarship to research how Emiratis view a subject she is passionate about: community service. She also plans to study Arabic because language "is the key to learning to connect with people".

Her plans fit well with the US-funded Fulbright scholarship mandate, which is to "increase mutual understanding" between Americans and citizens of other countries. About 1,600 students receive the scholarship annually and fan out to 155 countries. This academic year, two of them will be stationed in the UAE. "My ideal vacation is to go somewhere and learn about that place and learn about the people there," she said in a telephone interview from Cairo, where she is finishing an intensive two-month course in Arabic.

But she prefers, she said, to spend her time working. As a student at Northwestern University in Chicago, on top of double-majoring in communications and political science, she devoted hours to community service and arranged for fellow students to do the same. "A large part of my education came from outside the college," she said. After graduating in 2008 Ms Donaldson moved to Qatar to help open the overseas campus of her alma mater as a "student affairs specialist". But instead of planning typical activities such as team sports or weekend get-togethers, she hauled students as far as Tanzania (for a service trip), Tunisia (for a leadership retreat) and the US, to visit the mother campus.

Back in Chicago she was able to see her old stomping grounds through the eyes of her students - Qataris and Egyptians, Indians and Pakistanis. Many were surprised to see so much greenery. "They would say, 'They must have really good landscaping'. I'd tell them, 'No, it just rains'." Back in Qatar, through conversations with students and visits to their homes, Ms Donaldson also came to see their perspectives on other topics such as religion, family, career and community service.

She noticed Qatari families generally took better care of one another than American families do. "In America, it's very common to give your time through a nonprofit organisation," she said. "But they may not help their brother or sister along when they are struggling." "People [in Qatar] give a lot of time to family and friends," she said. "Service is done in a different way." "I wonder, if people in America did a better job of their families, whether we would need so many soup kitchens and homeless shelters?"

In the UAE, Ms Donaldson will research whether Emiratis also do community service informally, among relatives. With the help of two universities, she will organise focus groups in which participants fill out a worksheet ranking different types of community service, then discuss as a group which forms are "better". What are her plans after her year in the UAE? "With all this talk about how important family is, I will probably go home," she said.

Yet dialogue and cultural exchange seem likely to remain large parts of her life. She hopes to help Arab and Muslim immigrants adjust to life in the US. She wants to study international law and help countries in conflict reach common understandings and peaceful agreements. "One of my strengths is to try to see both sides of things," she said. "I love getting to hear people's stories. It's through those conversations that the world becomes a better place. I guess I'm pretty obsessed with that."

chuang@thenational.ae

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Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

Bio:

Favourite Quote: Prophet Mohammad's quotes There is reward for kindness to every living thing and A good man treats women with honour

Favourite Hobby: Serving poor people 

Favourite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite food: Fish and vegetables

Favourite place to visit: London

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5

Sui Dhaaga: Made in India

Director: Sharat Katariya

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav

3.5/5