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.
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.