Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba | Tumblr

Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba presented his credentials to President George W. Bush on July 28, 2008. Sent to fulfill the diplomatic position with a goal of strengthening the UAE’s relationship with the U.S., Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba claimed that the two countries share many similarities such as interest in promoting economic stability and advancing peace. Currently, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba establishes beneficial partnership agreements by arranging meetings between UAE representatives and other economic interests. In addition, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba holds responsibility for leading multinational discussions about the handling of sovereign wealth funds. In order to enhance cultural ties between the U.A.E and the U.S., Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba established the Oasis Foundation of Washington, DC. Under Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba’s direction, the Foundation focuses on the promotion of mutual understanding of the different national cultures. As the Oasis Foundation focuses on charity, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba sets the example with his own fundraising efforts, which includes donating over $528,000 to the Children’s National Medical Center to fight cancer. Prior to serving as Ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba assumed the position of Director of International Affairs for the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. In this role, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba advised the Crown Prince as senior counselor. During his tenure as Director, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has focused on issues regarding national security, functioning as an advocate for anti-terrorism, and defense. Additionally, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba’s efforts to enhance export controls laws and policies have improved regional defense. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba attended Cairo American College, which strives to create global citizens of its students. Upon graduating, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba enrolled in Georgetown University where he studied international relations. Additionally, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba served as an International Fellow at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University.
~ Monday, September 8 ~

Volunteers from UAE Help Rebuild After Hurricane Sandy

In the spring of 2014, 15 volunteers from the United Arab Emirates traveled to New Jersey to help rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. While the hurricane may have taken place nearly two years ago, its devastation continues to cause homelessness for many individuals. Volunteers from the UAE worked alongside American volunteers to rebuild the house of a woman who lost an overwhelming amount when the storm struck in 2012. All volunteers coordinated their efforts with Habitat for Humanity, which has worked tirelessly to ensure that individuals affected by the hurricane have the assistance they need to rebuild their lives. The frames for the home being built this spring were fabricated in the middle of Times Square and then transported to New Jersey for storage until the completion of the foundation.

The Emirati volunteers considered it a privilege to have the opportunity to assist individuals affected by natural disaster. Habitat for Humanity restores homes in a matter of months, but only with the gracious help of volunteers from both local areas and, in this case, communities thousands of miles away.

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~ Monday, August 25 ~

Abu Dhabi to Become Global Hub for Film and Television

In past years, the United Arab Emirates has pushed for an increasing number of deals between Hollywood and Abu Dhabi, in an effort to establish the Emirati city as a major global hub for the entertainment industry. At the request of the UAE embassy in the United States and Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, The Aspen Institute organized a panel at the London West Hollywood, a hotel in Los Angeles. The panel discussed the experience of several companies in Abu Dhabi and their success in coordinating large production crews. As these emerging companies have secured more deals with Hollywood, they have developed experience in managing several different types of productions.

Several of the world’s most famous and successful movie franchises have turned to Abu Dhabi for filming needs. Most recently, the filmmakers behind the next installment of the Star Wars franchise chose the UAE as a location to film various scenes. The success of these and other filmmakers relies on a number of factors, including the development of location talent and the infrastructure already in place to support major productions. In addition, the Abu Dhabi Film Commission offers a 30 percent rebate on production spending throughout the UAE.                            

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~ Wednesday, July 9 ~

UAE Foreign Minister Speaks to United Nations

For the last five years, His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba has served as ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States. In that capacity, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has focused on strengthening economic and security relations.<br><br>

At the 68th United Nations General Assembly session, the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister spoke on several topics related to security. He opened his address to the assembly with a reminder of the UN’s charter goals of protecting international security and peace. He went on to describe unrest in the Middle East and his hope that the efforts of his country to counter extremism and violence in the region will be successful.<br><br>

His remarks touched on other security-related issues, including developments in Egypt and Syria, before moving on to the subject of human rights. He ended his address with comments about his country’s positive Universal Periodic Review report and recent measures it has taken to empower women.

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~ Monday, June 23 ~

Launching a Business in the United Arab Emirates

Businesses and individuals looking to begin operations in the United Arab Emirates have two options: to establish a joint partnership with a UAE national or to establish the business within a UAE free-trade zone. Under the rules of joint partnership, a business may obtain a license to offer services or products throughout each of the seven emirates if a UAE national owns at least 51 percent of the business. The business must also secure licensure from the appropriate agency in the emirate in which it will conduct business.

Alternately, entrepreneurs can choose to limit the scope of their business to the confines of the 21 free-trade zones currently established in the UAE. Doing business in the free-trade zones has a number of advantages, including exemptions from corporate taxes for 15 years (renewable for an additional 15-year period), personal income taxes, and export and import taxes. Foreign businesses situated within the free zones additionally benefit from housing and labor recruitment assistance and can operate under 100 percent ownership of a foreign individual, business, or corporation.

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~ Friday, June 6 ~

Women’s Health Care in the UAE

A study completed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) revealed that 60 percent of women over age 50 were at risk of developing breast cancer. With the number of deaths from the disease rising at a dramatic rate due to lack of awareness and an unwillingness to seek appropriate medical care, breast cancer is a major public health concern in the UAE.

In order to increase awareness and encourage education and prevention, the UAE has partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the U.S. Department of State. The initiative, overseen by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, aims to create awareness of the benefits of regular diagnostic checks and medical care. It will also allow UAE women’s groups, government agencies, and medical professionals to benefit from the expertise and experience of both Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Johns Hopkins Medicine International.

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~ Tuesday, May 20 ~

Breast Cancer Awareness Initiatives in the UAE

With a new study indicating that as many as 60 percent of women in the United Arab Emirates are at risk for breast cancer, the treatment and prevention of the disease have become pressing concerns for UAE health agencies. At present, diagnosis of the disease often comes as many as 10 years after onset, as many UAE women are unaware of the benefits of regular wellness checkups or are reluctant to seek medical attention.

Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak has taken the lead in addressing the need for breast cancer awareness initiatives in the UAE with the creation of a number of public health programs. One of the ways the UAE is meeting the challenges of this public health problem is by collaborating with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Through this partnership, the UAE is working to improve access to oncology experts in the United States, facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas, and create breast cancer awareness programs at the local level.

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~ Tuesday, May 6 ~

UAE Embassy Officials Pay Visit to Atlanta

In late March 2014, the United Arab Emirates sent a team of diplomats to Atlanta to meet with leaders from the city’s government, businesses, and communities. The visit recognized the increasing importance of the UAE to the economy of Georgia. Georgia exports more merchandise to the UAE than all but seven other U.S. states, and its 2013 exports to the country were worth $790 million. Moreover, ties between Georgia and the UAE have been deepening, with Georgia’s exports to the UAE nearly doubling since 1999.

Georgia’s main exports to the UAE are vehicles and equipment, including passenger vehicles and turbojet parts. Trade between the state and the nation supports nearly 7,000 jobs for Georgians and routed $1.2 billion in commerce through the Port of Savannah in 2013.

The itinerary for embassy personnel in Atlanta included meetings with the Mayor’s Office, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and Invest Atlanta. They also met with representatives of several other organizations and spoke to students and teachers at Grady High School. The trip was one of several planned by the UAE embassy as part of an outreach program to people across the United States.

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~ Wednesday, April 23 ~

UAE Celebrates National Day in Washington and Dubai

In December 2012, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, the chief diplomatic representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, led his office in a public observation of the UAE’s 41st National Day. The Washington, D.C., event paralleled celebrations in the UAE’s largest city, Dubai, and capital, Abu Dhabi.

While hosting the Washington reception, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba noted the long-standing, close relationship between the United States and the UAE in the diplomatic arena and additionally in science, technology, business, travel, and culture. Among numerous examples of this expanding partnership is the recent development of direct airline routes between the two nations’ capitals, which is expected to foster increased tourism and trade. In his speech, Ambassador Al Otaiba highlighted his country’s vital role as a center of development in the Middle East and its openness to expanded commercial opportunities.

National Day commemorates the December 2, 1971, independence of the United Arab Emirates from rule by the United Kingdom. Celebrations in the UAE included a 40-minute historical pageant in light and sound at Dubai Festival City, along with parades and fireworks.

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~ Tuesday, April 8 ~

UAE Diplomats Visit San Diego to Strengthen Business Ties

Diplomats from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently visited San Diego in the latest in a series of visits to United States cities to strengthen trade ties between the U.S. and the UAE. Arranged in partnership with the Northern County Chapter of the World Affairs Council and the San Diego World Affairs Council, the visit gave diplomats the chance to meet with San Diego business leaders involved in business endeavors in the UAE.

The diplomats, which included UAE Political Department Second Secretary Dr. Saghira Al Ahbabi, met with officials from CONNECT San Diego and the University of California, San Diego, International House. In addition to visits with San Diego business leaders, the diplomats took the time to visit the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where they learned about the latest research developments in oceanography, meteorology, and geology. Thus far, embassy diplomats have connected with business executives and community leaders in multiple states, including Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.

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~ Monday, March 24 ~

Gaming for Peace - The Inaugural PeaceGame Initiative

What if policymakers invested as much time and effort in planning diplomatic scenarios as they seem to do in preparing for war or conflict?

This is the somewhat startling question posed by PeaceGame, a unique initiative recently organized by the US Institute of Peace and the global politics and economics magazine Foreign Policy. PeaceGame attempts to tackle the question of diplomatic solutions using some unexpected techniques, namely, those of high-level, role-playing war games.

Held in December of 2013 in Washington, DC, the inaugural PeaceGame brought together 45 experts, including State Department officials, former ambassadors, academics, and Middle Eastern activists, to work through a simulation of diplomatic efforts relating to the recent Syrian Civil War. Featuring an atmosphere that some have compared to Dungeons & Dragons or a Model United Nations, the event attempted to spur the same kind of intense focus on peaceful solutions that is usually devoted to conflict planning by highlighting the voices of groups affected by the war who are often overlooked in typical Washington policy discussions.

The December of 2013 PeaceGame was the first of a series of similar events that are designed to “game out” diplomatic, peaceful solutions to challenging international conflict. In the spring of 2014, the next PeaceGame will take place in the United Arab Emirates.

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