Yousef Al Otaiba
Ambassador of the UAE to the USA
His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba has led the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington, D.C. since July 2008. Just two years after his appointment, he was recognized by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce as Ambassador of the Year. In 2017, he was promoted to Minister of State for his efforts toward furthering the UAE-U.S. bilateral relationship.
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 piece in 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 which highlights 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. Additionally, he has supported the UAE’s Cultural Division in Washington, D.C. to assist Emirati students in their academic endeavors.
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 the Meridian International Center, a D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to public leadership, diplomacy and diversity.
Through his role as Emirati Ambassador, Al Otaiba has also been heavily involved in charitable work across the U.S. and around the world. His philanthropy work has primarily focused on humanitarian relief, public health, equality and inclusion efforts. He was also involved with combating 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 public health crisis head-on.
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” — a storytelling sub-campaign, which features personal narratives from both Emiratis and Americans who have been positively impacted and inspired by the historic alliance.
Al Otaiba was raised in Cairo, Egypt. He is married to Abeer Al Otaiba, Egyptian philanthropist and entrepreneur. Abeer is the founder of luxury fashion line, SemSem, as well as the co-founder and CEO of Al Otaiba Investments. Yousef and Abeer met in the UAE and were married in 2010.
To learn more about Ambassador Al Otaiba’s work for the UAE in the U.S., visit the UAE Embassy website.
News & Updates
The National News
Yousef Al Otaiba speaks on coexistence and the Manara Centre on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” television show.
The German and UAE Embassies come together to celebrate the 2023 Special Olympics World Games.
Ambassador Al Otaiba meets with U.S. officials to discuss climate action plans in preparation for the COP28 Conference.
Opinion Pieces by Yousef Al Otaiba
With an extensive tenure as a modern leader in foreign policy and international relations, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has published a number of forward-thinking opinion pieces on related topics throughout his time in Washington DC.
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.
Aligning with the country’s priority of furthering religious tolerance, the UAE opened the Abrahamic Family House on February 16, 2023, in the country’s capital as
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
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 twelve soccer fields across the country. The Ambassador and his wife Abeer have also established a Goodwill Fund to support patients in need at the King Hussein Cancer Center. Learn more about how Yousef Al Otaiba supports 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, Emiratis and Americans have teamed up to create solutions for climate action, promoting culture and art exchanges, and sharing innovations in technology and medicine.