About Yousef Al Otaiba

Yousef Al Otaiba stands in an embassy office
Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has built his diplomatic career around helping to preserve and expand the collaborative relationship between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States (U.S.) As a well-known and respected diplomat in Washington, D.C., he has placed particular emphasis on furthering economic prosperity, climate action and cultural exchange between the two countries. Additionally, he has worked to improve political security and stability in the Middle East and support humanitarian relief efforts around the world.

UAE Ambassador to the US

On July 28, 2008, Yousef Al Otaiba presented his letter of credence to then U.S. President George W. Bush — officially marking the start of his role as UAE Ambassador. One of the Ambassador’s first major accomplishments was the finalization of a nuclear energy agreement between the UAE and the U.S., which was signed in December 2009. The agreement has been called the “gold standard” of nonproliferation agreements, with the UAE making voluntary commitments beyond any other country in the region. In recognition of his excellent service as UAE Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba was promoted to Minister of State in October 2017.

Over the course of his tenure as UAE Ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba has prioritized fortifying the relationship between the UAE and the U.S. through trade agreements, cultural exchange and investments in medical and educational establishments throughout the U.S. His efforts to enhance bilateral ties have not only resulted in a stronger alliance between the UAE and U.S., but they have also helped to maintain the UAE’s position as America’s premiere trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Outside of his work in the U.S., the Ambassador has worked to advance peace and tolerance in the Middle East. In 2020, the Ambassador prompted international discussion after calling for Israelis to consider normalizing diplomatic relations with the UAE. His commentary garnered attention in some of the largest Israeli newspapers, which led to the signing of the Abraham Accords just a few months later.

In November 2023, the UAE hosted the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, where Ambassador Al Otaiba and numerous delegates from around the world were in attendance. Discussions at the conference focused on international collaboration and cooperation to bolster climate action as a collective.

In recognition of his excellent service as UAE Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba was promoted to Minister of State in October 2017. Yousef is married to Abeer Al Otaiba, an entrepreneur, philanthropist and designer. She is the founder of international investment firm Al Otaiba Investments and luxury fashion line SemSem. The couple resides in Virginia with their son and daughter.

Education & Early Career

Yousef Al Otaiba grew up in Cairo, Egypt, and received a first-in-class education at Cairo American College. After completing his studies in Egypt, he moved to the U.S. and studied International Relations at Georgetown University, where he also played soccer and was the 2015 recipient of the Georgetown Soccer Alumni Award. He later graduated from the Industrial College of the US Armed Forces at the National Defense University through the International Fellows Program (Class of 2000) He also participated in the Georgetown Leadership Seminar at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (Class of 2007).

Yousef Al Otaiba began his career as a diplomat and international leader working as the Director of International Affairs in the court of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who now serves as the president of the UAE. During his time in this role, he assisted with the improvement of UAE and regional security and stability, supporting anti-extremist and counterintelligence efforts throughout the Middle East and building strategic partnerships between the UAE and U.S., as well as other countries. For a short time, he also served as a non-resident ambassador to Mexico.

Philanthropy

Yousef Al Otaiba provides personal and professional support to charitable organizations and humanitarian relief efforts in the U.S. and around the world. While he has supported a number of different causes, his primary areas of focus are public health, inclusivity and equality through sports, and disaster recovery efforts.

Abeer and Yousef Al Otaiba have been long-time supporters of programs and institutions local to Washington, D.C., as well. Wanting to give back to the Children’s National Hospital — which provided care for their daughter in a time of need — the Al Otaibas co-chaired the institution’s Children’s Ball with Bret and Amy Baier in 2014. The event raised $10.9 million to support the hospital’s mission to develop treatments for pediatric patients.