Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the United States, at Jubilee Park and Community Center in Dallas, Texas.

Yousef Al Otaiba

Meet the UAE Ambassador to the US

His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba was appointed as UAE Ambassador to the US in July 2008 and promoted to Minister of State by 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 to spread a powerful message of tolerance and inclusion, and focus on the common values that bond the United Arab Emirates and the United States together.

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba 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 in the UAE-Israel Abraham Accords earned him a spot on Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 list. In addition, he has been named Ambassador of the Year by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce and received the Distinguished Diplomatic Service Award and the Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Prize in Philanthropy.

Prior to this role, Ambassador Al Otaiba was Director of International Affairs for the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He attended Cairo American College, Georgetown University and National Defense University.

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Headshot

Welcome to the UAE USA United Campaign

 

As the UAE Ambassador to the US, my top priority is to preserve this unique relationship 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 global challenges like Middle East peace, human rights, 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. As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times, we stand committed to fostering a better global future based on equality, peace and prosperity.

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 region as a modern leader in trade, investment, gross domestic product (GDP) and economic reform.

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 surpassed $23 billion. These economic exchanges have provided critical support for jobs and enterprises in the Emirates and across America.

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

Global Security and Stability

At the heart of UAE-US relations 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 military 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 Emirates. Together, the two countries are collectively working towards regional peace, stability and counterterrorism cooperation.

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. This includes the UAE's first time hosting the Special Olympics World Games, the most diverse and inclusive World Games in history.

One year later, the Ambassador became the first Gulf diplomat to ever publish an op-ed in an Israeli newspaper.

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

Since the signing, the UAE and Israel 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 Global Challenges

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

Following the global 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.

Beyond COVID-19, 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.

 

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

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