His Excellency
Yousef Al Otaiba

Ambassador of the UAE to the USA

His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba has led the UAE Embassy in Washington, D.C. since July 2008. Just two years later, he was recognized by the National U.S.—Arab Chamber of Commerce as Ambassador of the Year, and — in 2017 — he was promoted to Minister of State for his efforts toward furthering the UAE–U.S. bilateral relationship.
Yousef Al Otaiba sitting at a conference table

As Ambassador of the UAE to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba has focused his diplomatic career on growing UAE-U.S. ties through economic, cultural, security, and philanthropic cooperation. Since being sworn in at the U.S. capital, he’s influenced several shared successes including the U.S.-UAE 123 agreement, the strongest nuclear nonproliferation agreement in recent history.

In 2020, Al Otaiba’s Israeli opinion piecein Yedioth Ahronoth gained international attention for directly addressing potential opportunities for normalized diplomatic relations between the Emiratis and Israelis. His piece prompted discussion among world leaders, which led to the creation of the Abraham Accords – an agreement highlighting a series of peace statements between the UAE and Israel. Since the signing of the Accords, Ambassador Al Otaiba has made yearly addresses on the ongoing progress that has been driven by this agreement.

Beyond U.S. foreign policy, the Ambassador’s ongoing efforts to enhance UAE-U.S. economic relations have formed groundbreaking partnerships with some of the most renowned organizations across America. In the realm of education, he’s developed close connections with academic institutions including the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and New York University’s campus in the UAE capital. He’s also brought innovation to healthcare facilities including Children’s National Medical Center, Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic.

Throughout his tenure, Ambassador Al Otaiba has maintained an inherent passion for peace and economic prosperity. He has assisted the UAE’s larger goal of furthering religious tolerance by hosting interfaith Iftars at the UAE Embassy and engaging with a broad array of religious communities. With these ideals in mind, he’s built new cultural exchange programs with institutions such as Meridian International Center, a DC-based nonprofit dedicated to public leadership, diplomacy and diversity.

Through his role as Emirati Ambassador, Al Otaiba has also been heavily involved in charity work and delivering humanitarian aid across the U.S. and around the world, including working diligently to combat the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). From organizing repatriation flights to funding scientific research, testing sites and emergency food relief, he worked with organizations such as the Children’s National Hospital and Good Food Markets to confront the ongoing challenges from this public health crisis.

From helping people in need to furthering the economic relationship between the UAE and U.S., Al Otaiba’s leadership has inspired the embassy to launch several new ventures including UAE USA United. This embassy-sponsored campaign spotlights the strong and strategic partnership between the two countries. In 2022, the campaign celebrated 50 years of UAE-U.S. friendship through “50 Years | 50 Faces.” This storytelling campaign features personal narratives from both Emiratis and Americans who have been personally touched and inspired by this historic alliance.

Al Otaiba was raised in Cairo, Egypt. He is married to Abeer Al Otaiba, Egyptian philanthropist and entrepreneur. She is also the founder of luxury fashion line, SemSem. Yousef and Abeer met in the UAE and were married in 2010.

He previously studied at Cairo American College, Georgetown University and the Industrial College of the U.S. Armed Forces at the National Defense University. He is the former Senior Advisor and Director of International Affairs for H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the current president of the UAE.

To learn more about Ambassador Al Otaiba’s work for the UAE in the U.S., visit the UAE Embassy website.

“Through government initiatives, policy organizations and our own rule of law, we're creating a place where people from all backgrounds, faiths, nationalities and perspectives can join together to learn, engage in artistic expression and exchange ideas.”

News & Updates

Khaleej Times

Ambassador Al Otaiba Welcomes Smithsonian Folklife Festival to DC.

Jewish Insider

Bronx soccer field, a benefit of the Abraham Accords, is part of emerging friendship between Rep. Ritchie Torres and the UAE
The Ambassador & the Abraham Accords spark Crotona Park soccer field renovation.

Jewish News Syndicate

Yousef Al Otaiba at Hebrew University
Yousef Al Otaiba joins Hebrew University’s annual SCOPUS Award Gala.

Opinion Pieces by Yousef Al Otaiba

As a modern leader in foreign policy and international relations, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has published a number of forward-thinking opinion pieces throughout his time in Washington DC.

“As two of the Middle East’s most dynamic economies and vibrant societies, closer UAE-Israel ties will accelerate growth and innovation, expand opportunities for young people, and break down long-held prejudices.”


Read up on the most recent developments in UAE-U.S. relations and the
diplomatic efforts of Ambassador Al Otaiba and others at the UAE Embassy.


Watch recorded speeches, ceremonies, events and other videos featuring Yousef Al Otaiba’s exceptional work with the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC. Here, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba had the honor of delivering his keynote address to the New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) class of 2016.

Speaking & Events

Ambassador Al Otaiba frequently takes part in and speaks at various events, including conferences, educational events, celebrations, and more.


View photos of Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba at UAE Embassy events, charitable functions and other special occasions.


Listen to the latest conversations between Ambassador Al Otaiba and special guests.


As both a private citizen and Minister of State, Yousef Al Otaiba supports a wide range of charitable organizations, humanitarian ventures and recovery efforts in areas that have suffered from disaster. Through his engagement, he’s contributed to the UAE’s long-time partnership with Children’s National Medical Center, the first Special Olympics World Games in the MENA region and efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. He also inspired the embassy’s very first Community Soccer Program, which has constructed and restored over ten soccer fields across the country. The program also provides free coaching, allowing kids in underserved communities to play in a safe, healthy and productive environment. Learn more about the ways that Ambassador Al Otaiba and his wife Abeer support communities and individuals in the UAE, the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.

UAE USA United

As close friends and strong allies, the UAE and the U.S. work together to promote security, economic prosperity and a future-oriented outlook based on inclusion, equality and diversity. The UAE USA United campaign highlights the work being done by both countries to address pressing challenges. United for a better future, UAE and U.S. have come together to address climate action, promote culture and art exchanges, and share innovations in technology and medicine.

“In the UAE, the pandemic has taught us to accelerate our focus on technology, to continue breaking barriers in fields like space exploration and to reimagine our education system.”