Ambassador Marcelle Wahba

When Marcelle Wahba arrived at her post as US Ambassador to the UAE—just one month after the events of 9/11—many would think the odds stacked against her. But the combination of being an American of Arab lineage and a female diplomat became important assets as she sought common ground and built closer UAE-US ties during an exceptionally challenging time for the relationship. Ambassador Wahba would ultimately help launch the first US-UAE Strategic Partnership, the first US-UAE Joint Military Commission and negotiate the US-UAE Trade and Investment Agreement, which today has helped propel the UAE forward as the US’ largest export market in the Middle East region.

Ambassador Wahba recalls very poignant moments such as: Emirati citizens signing the 9/11 book of condolences at the US Embassy within days of her appointment; or being struck by the level of tolerance and coexistence across the Emirates, which would help shape her “live-and-let live” approach to her time in the UAE.