H.E. Yousef Al Otaiba was appointed ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the United States (US) in July 2008 and has been breaking down cultural barriers between both nations ever since. In this role, he is committed to cultivating a strong alliance between the UAE and the US based on the shared interest for global security, peace and prosperity. As a dedicated diplomat, philanthropist and advocate for religious tolerance and inclusion, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has been recognized around the world for his extraordinary influence in international relations.
In his capacity leading the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC, Ambassador Al Otaiba has significantly grown UAE-US relations in several key areas. One of his first and most notable accomplishments was to help finalize the US-UAE 123 Agreement. This initiative secured bilateral cooperation for civil nuclear energy development and is recognized as the “gold standard” for non-proliferation agreements.
Ambassador Al Otaiba’s diplomatic efforts have also heavily influenced the UAE’s joint mission with the US to stabilize the Middle East, counter extremists and preserve regional security. Most recently, he was dubbed the “peace entrepreneur” after authoring an op-ed in Yedioth Ahronoth on Israel’s plans for annexation. This commentary proved to be instrumental in creating the conditions for the Abraham Accords and marked a historic turning point for the future of Middle East foreign policy.
The Ambassador has also stimulated economic growth in both the US and the UAE, generating thousands of jobs, investment opportunities and trade agreements. During his tenure, the UAE and the US formed an Economic Public Dialogue (EDP), bilateral trade nearly doubled and the UAE has been the top US export market in the MENA region for eleven straight years.
These economic exchanges have contributed to innovative partnerships with leading institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital, New York University Abu Dhabi and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Ambassador Al Otaiba has also promoted artistic exchanges between the two countries. From 2014 to 2016, the Embassy partnered with Meridian International Center on a groundbreaking cultural diplomacy program called Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates.
In 2019, the UAE’s “Year of Tolerance,” Ambassador Al Otaiba led the Embassy’s activities to honor the country’s legacy of cultural exchange and understanding. This year-long celebration brought a number of diverse and historic events including Pope Francis’ visit to the UAE and the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.
As a prominent advocate for inclusion and mutual respect, Ambassador Al Otaiba sits on the board of the Special Olympics and serves as a host for Podbridge, a UAE Embassy presented podcast dedicated to better connecting the US, the Middle East, and the world.
He’s also played a significant role in philanthropy across the US, funding and supporting disaster relief organizations, community development, pediatric care and public healthcare initiatives. Outside of his professional career, Yousef and his wife, Abeer Al Otaiba, have a long-standing partnership with the Children’s National Medical Center and have worked alongside the UAE Embassy to provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2010, the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce named Ambassador Al Otaiba Ambassador of the Year. In 2013, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the World Affairs Council of Washington. As a result of his accomplishments as UAE ambassador to the US, he was also promoted to Minister of State in 2017 and featured on the 2020 TIME100 list of the most influential people worldwide.
Prior to his current roles, Ambassador Al Otaiba’s diplomatic career was founded on improving UAE relations with the Middle East, the US, and other allied nations. His previous positions include his time as non-resident ambassador to Mexico and Director of International Affairs for the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Ambassador Al Otaiba attended the Cairo American College and studied international relations at Georgetown University. He also was an international fellow at the Industrial College of the US Armed Forces at the National Defense University in Washington, DC.
Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
3522 International Court NW
Washington DC 20008
Phone: (202) 243-2400
Fax: (202) 243-2432