The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Cultural Empathy in International Contexts: Successes and Pitfalls

Julia Huisman, NHLStenden University of Applied Sciences (The Netherlands)


This Paper studies the importance of the development of  cultural empathy to gain the knowledge about other cultures to eliminate Self-reference Criterion. When a person fails to appreciate other culture, we encounter what we call  the Self-reference Criterion (SRC), a phenomenon in which an individual or collective group impose one's own cultural values or fail  to empathize with  other cultures.. Making decisions without sufficient knowledge about other cultures may result in SRC.Many experts claim that Cultural Empathy prevents the impassiveness in other cultures as well as cultural ignorance.

Psychological researchers found that empathy varies.not only among people but widely among countries and cultures. Research demonstrates  higher empathy scores are associated with more giving, helping, and sharing behaviour. higher empathy countries had higher rates of volunteering and helping.

However, the paper also considers the perspective of many other researchers that state  there are numerous pitfalls to empathy. We need to consider the biases that empathy may be subject to and consciously  counteract them so that we can make wiser decisions. Learning emotional self-control, learning how to read others’ emotions, examining bias in ourselves may help us to exercise  our empathic behaviour in a less biased manner.



Internationalisation, empathy, curriculum, education, society, Intercultural Communication, Emotional Intelligence, self-reference criterium





[1]Huisman, J. (2022) Empathy to Empower the Difference: Diversity and Inclusion in a multicultural Classroom. The Future of Education Conference Proceedings, Florence 2022.

[2] Bloom, P (2016) Against Empathy: the Case for Rational Compassion. Ecco, NewYork, 2016.


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