Yousef Al Otaiba

His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba was appointed as Ambassador of the UAE to the US in July 2008. He was then promoted to Minister of State by the late UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2017. As the UAE's top diplomat in the US, his position provides a platform for spreading a powerful message of tolerance and inclusion, focusing on the common values that bond the United Arab Emirates and the United States together.

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba

Over the course of his diplomatic career, the Ambassador has also helped forge important partnerships with major US institutions such as New York University, the Cleveland Clinic, the Guggenheim Museum, Children’s National Medical Center, Harvard University and the Meridian International Center.

His influence with the Abraham Accord agreement earned him a spot on Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 list. Additionally, Ambassador Al Otaiba maintains a focus on philanthropic initiatives both as a private citizen and through his role at the UAE Embassy. He has been named Ambassador of the Year by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce and received the Distinguished Diplomatic Service Award in 2013. He was also awarded the Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Prize in Philanthropy in 2015 for his support of Children's National Medical Center.

Prior to his role as Ambassador, His Excellency Al Otaiba was Director of International Affairs for the Court of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He attended Cairo American College, Georgetown University and National Defense University.

A Message from H.E. Yousef Al Otaiba

As the Emirati Ambassador to the US, my top priority is to preserve the unique relationship between the UAE and US and to highlight the work and progress being made on behalf of both countries to create a better future across the globe.

Working from the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC, it has been a true honor and privilege to witness first-hand the tremendous growth and success of this bilateral relationship. Together, we have broken down cultural barriers like never before and formed valuable partnerships focused on important international challenges like peace in the Middle East, humanitarian relief, equality, climate change and sustainable development.

These joint ventures are the reason behind the UAE USA United campaign, a UAE Embassy initiative to celebrate our shared achievements. Moving forward, we stand committed to fostering a better worldwide future based on equality, peace and prosperity.

Welcome to the UAE USA United Campaign

Economic Cooperation and Innovation

Home to one of the most open economies in the world, the UAE’s strong relationship with the US has helped to establish the MENA region as a modern leader in trade, investment, gross domestic product (GDP) and economic reform.

Economic Cooperation and Innovation

Over the last decade, bilateral trade grew by more than 400 percent and the UAE became one of the US’ largest sources of foreign direct investment. Since then, the UAE has received imports from all 50 states and consistently remained the US’ largest export market in the Middle East for thirteen years straight. In addition, more than 1,500 US corporations have offices in the UAE and total trade with the US has surpassed $23 billion. These economic exchanges have provided critical support for jobs and enterprises in the UAE and across the US.

As strong partners, the two countries have heavily invested in sectors such as science, technology, renewable energy, aviation, public health, education and so much more. These long-time efforts have established revolutionary partnerships with several organizations including the Wilson Center, the Cleveland Clinic, Children’s National Hospital, New York University, NASA and Harvard University.

International Security and Stability

At the heart of the UAE-US relationship is a shared commitment for greater security and defense cooperation in the Middle East.

To this day, the UAE is the only Arab nation to partner with the US in six armed forces coalition actions across the Middle East and is actively working alongside the US to combat extremists groups and other external threats. As a result, US naval vessels visit UAE ports more than any other foreign ports and over 4,000 US troops are hosted in the UAE. Together, the two countries are collectively working towards regional peace, stability and security cooperation.

International Security and Stability

Progress on Peace and Inclusivity

In 2019, the UAE government celebrated the “Year of Tolerance,” which inspired a number of multicultural events including Pope Francis’ historic visit to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Since then, the UAE Embassy has promoted religious inclusion through several interfaith events including its exclusive Ramadan Reflections series.

During this time, the UAE Embassy and dedicated partners in the US worked together to create new opportunities for cultural exchange. Part of this collaboration includes the first ever Special Olympics World Games hosted in the UAE, the most diverse and inclusive in the event’s history. Ambassador Al Otaiba was an active supporter of Special Olympics athletes during the games, visiting the US training camp and congratulating athletes at the White House. Following the conclusion of the games, Al Otaiba joined the Special Olympics Board of Directors in 2019 to further promote equality and inclusion for individuals with disabilities.

Keeping with promoting culture through sports, the UAE Embassy’s Community Soccer Program has benefited communities in major cities across the US. Through this program, the UAE has partnered with local organizations to fund all-weather soccer fields in underserved communities to provide opportunities for kids to stay fit and learn life and soccer skills in a safe environment.


Progress on Peace and Inclusivity

Inspiring International Peace

Additionally, Al Otaiba has made contributions towards the progress for peace and cooperation across the MENA region. In 2020, the Ambassador wrote a published article that led discussion for a normalized Emirati and Israeli diplomatic relationship. His article marked the first time a Gulf diplomat published a piece in an Israeli newspaper.

After several months of negotiations, leaders from the UAE, Bahrain, and the Israeli government gathered at the White House to sign the US-brokered Abraham Accord agreement. This normalization deal made the UAE the first Gulf state and third Arab country in history to make peace with Israel.

Since the signing, Emirati and Israeli leaders have collaborated across several sectors including business, trade and tourism. This is just the beginning of a new friendship between the two countries and a new era of peace for the Middle East.

Addressing Worldwide Challenges

In recent years, the UAE and the US have joined forces to address the many emerging international challenges of the 21st century.

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, the two governments worked tirelessly to not only protect UAE and US citizens but also the international community. From repatriation flights and travel guidelines to vaccine distribution, medical assistance and scientific research, they quickly developed innovative solutions to combat the ongoing pandemic. During this time, they were also heavily involved in delivering humanitarian assistance and emergency food relief worldwide.

Addressing Worldwide Challenges

Beyond efforts related to the pandemic, the UAE and the US have established a collective responsibility to protect the environment, combat climate change and to preserve the planet for future generations. Together, they have launched several impactful programs focused on coral reef restoration, wildlife conservation and sustainable development. Specific initiatives include the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, AIM for Climate and the COP28 Climate Conference, which the UAE will host in November 2023.

Yousef Al Otaiba Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America

Hear more insights from the Ambassador on YouTube and through the 50 Years | 50 Faces campaign.

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