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.
~ 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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~ Tuesday, March 18 ~

San Diego Visit Highlights Growing UAE-US Trade Relationship

In an effort to raise awareness throughout the United States of the growing and mutually beneficial trade relationship between the US and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), diplomats from the UAE embassy in Washington, DC, have been visiting major American cities to meet with local business leaders, solidify connections, and explore areas for further collaboration.

Most recently, in November of 2013, UAE diplomats traveled to San Diego on a visit organized in coordination with the World Affairs Council (Northern County Chapter) and the San Diego World Affairs Council.

During their visit, the diplomats, which included UAE Commercial Counselor to the US Saud Al Nowais, met with local company executives doing business in the UAE, discussed entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives with leaders from CONNECT San Diego, and presented options for higher education in the UAE to faculty and students at the International House of the University of California, San Diego.

While the UAE officials plan to visit other cities in the coming months, the San Diego visit was especially significant because California is a major commercial and cultural partner of the UAE. In 2012, the value of California’s total exports to the UAE was $1.8 billion, which makes California the third-largest exporter to the UAE among US states. These export activities alone support more than 23,000 California jobs.

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~ Friday, January 3 ~

The Dedication of the Sheik Zayed Tower at The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Over the past six years, the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba, has taken part in a number of events that celebrate the ongoing relationship between the two countries, as well as the common economic and cultural interests they share. Among these, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba attended the dedication of the Sheikh Zayed Cardiovascular and Critical Care Tower at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. During a ceremony on April 12, 2012, Sheik Zayed Tower was unveiled to a crowd of more than 1,000, including key figures in government and business, as the next step in quality health care in the United States. With a primary focus on cardiovascular medicine and critical care, the tower consists of 355 private rooms for acute care, intensive care, and obstetrics, in addition to a helipad for airlifted patients. The tower also houses rooms for neurosurgical treatment, transplants, orthopedic surgery, and other services. It will accompany the new Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center.

~ Monday, December 23 ~

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Helps Open a Soccer Field for New York Kids (Part Two)

In the summer of 2012, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba, was among those who attended the opening of a new rooftop-enclosed public school soccer field in New York, a joint gift of England’s Manchester City Football Club (F.C.) and the UAE Embassy. A longtime soccer fan, Ambassador Otaiba was particularly excited about the potential of the Lexington Academy field in spawning new interest in the sport among American schoolchildren.

A vital aspect of the field-construction project was the involvement of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The UAE royal family member leads the Abu Dhabi United Group, which has owned Manchester City F.C. since 2008. The132-year-old English Premier League franchise earned Championship league qualification in 2011 and won the Football Association Challenge Cup (the FA Cup). The following year, the team achieved its first Premier League title in nearly half a century.

Attending the field dedication ceremony with Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba was the Manchester City F.C.’s “City Soccer in the Community” program Ambassador, as well as hundreds of schoolchildren eager to try out the new field.

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~ Wednesday, December 11 ~

Traveling to the United Arab Emirates

As Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America, His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba facilitates meetings between economic interests in the U.A.E. and those abroad. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba’s mandate also includes creating stronger ties between the United States and the U.A.E.

In recent years, tourism has been expanding in the U.A.E. The country boasts a number of holiday advantages, including safety, good weather, beaches and the ocean, and a deep cultural heritage. Travelers can reach the country by land as well as by sea or air.

The U.A.E.’s three national airlines, Air Arabia, Emirates Air, and Etihad Airways, fly direct to the country’s six international airports from destinations ranging from the United States and Europe to China and Australia. By land, the U.A.E. can be accessed from its neighbors Oman and Saudi Arabia. Buses run daily to the U.A.E. from several nearby nations. Finally, travelers can enter the U.A.E. through its state-of-the-art ports in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Dubai. The cruise terminal at Dubai has hosted enormous cruise ships, including the Queen Mary 2, in the past.

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~ Monday, December 9 ~

United Arab Emirates Football Team in London Olympics: A Unique Opportunity

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) football team’s participation in the 2012 Olympics represented its most inspiring sporting moment since the 1990 World Cup tournament. When the team first traveled to Great Britain, there was some hesitation about potentially playing the home team, which has been celebrated for its dedication to the sport, in one of the most famous arenas in the world. However, throughout the Olympic games, the team steadily gained confidence as it proved that it belonged among these top competitors, especially as some of the most renowned teams incurred substantial criticism for their lackluster performances. What began as a competition clouded by anxiety quickly became a source of pride for all Emiratis.

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~ Thursday, October 24 ~

More Than 30,000 Delegates Slated to Attend Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week


This year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is on track to become the largest gathering on the topic in the history of the Middle East. Emiratis have taken an active role in promoting sustainable technologies through the installation of windmills in the United Kingdom and the establishment of solar power plants in Spain. The country is poised to become an international leader in the renewable energy industry. This year’s sustainability event will take place during the second week of January, and more than 30,000 delegates will represent 158 nations around the world. These delegates include private sector professionals, government leaders, and individuals from non-governmental organizations.


The event will promote sustainable growth by encouraging the use of renewable energy sources, showcasing new technologies and ideas, connecting stakeholders, and addressing the challenges in the transition to a sustainable economy. More information about the event can be found online at Registration is now open.

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~ Saturday, October 19 ~

Etiquette for Travelers to the United Arab Emirates

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, who represents the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C., works to facilitate the exchange of business, technological, and cultural relationships between citizens of the UAE and the US. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and his staff have worked with the Middle East Institute to provide the following information on intercultural etiquette for Westerners who visit the UAE and other Muslim-majority countries.

Thoughtful behavior is highly regarded throughout the Middle East. If there is only enough food available for one person, your friend or business associate will offer to share it with you. Elders are respected by being greeted first in a group, and men typically stand when a woman enters a gathering. Also remember to stand to show respect for people of high rank.

The sharing of food and drink is an important social activity and a chance for a host to show generosity, so accept graciously any tea or coffee offered to you. Because observant Muslims abstain from cigarettes and alcohol, do not expect these items to be available in every situation. Avoid eating with the left hand, which is traditionally regarded as unclean. 

Middle Eastern societies tend to be more conservative and traditional than most Americans are accustomed to. An observant Muslim woman would not shake hands or have physical contact with an adult male, but would instead place her hand over her heart to show her happiness at greeting a visitor. Likewise, an observant man would not shake hands with a female who is unrelated to him. Modesty in dress is important for both genders. Show respect for personal boundaries by asking before taking a photograph of someone, particularly a woman.

When visiting a mosque, women should display respect by concealing their hair with a garment such as an abaya, a loose-fitting robe with a hood to cover the head. No one should take pictures inside a mosque.

Although dialects vary across Arabic-speaking societies, a few standard greetings are understood and welcome throughout the region. To say, “Hello,” you literally say, “Peace be upon you,” or “Salaamu aleikum.” The other person will respond with, “And unto you peace,” “Wa aleikum a-salaam.”

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