About Yousef Al Otaiba

Yousef Al Otaiba stands in an embassy office

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has built his diplomatic career around preserving and expanding the collaborative relationship between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States (US). As a well-known and respected diplomat in Washington, DC, 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 supported humanitarian relief efforts in the US and around the world.

UAE Ambassador to the US

UAE Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, speaks at an event.

On July 28, 2008, Yousef Al Otaiba presented his letter of credence to then-US President George W. Bush — officially marking the start of his role as UAE Ambassador to the US. One of the Ambassador’s first major accomplishments was the finalization of the US-UAE 1-2-3 Agreement, which was signed in December 2009. The agreement has been called the “gold standard” of nonproliferation agreements, with the UAE making voluntary commitments that exceeded any other country in the region.

During his tenure as UAE Ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba has prioritized fortifying the relationship between the UAE and the US through trade agreements, cultural exchange and investments in medical, educational and community establishments throughout the US. His efforts to enhance bilateral ties have resulted in a stronger alliance between the UAE and US and helped to maintain the UAE’s position as America’s premiere trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The Ambassador has also worked to advance peace and equality 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, with Ambassador Al Otaiba and delegates from around the world in attendance. Discussions focused on international collaboration and cooperation to bolster climate action as a collective force.

In recognition of his service as Emirati Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba was promoted to Minister of State in October 2017. The Ambassador is married to entrepreneur, philanthropist and designer Abeer Shoukry-Al Otaiba. 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 primary education, he moved to the US and studied International Relations at Georgetown University. While at Georgetown, he played soccer, which in 2015 earned him 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).

Al Otaiba began his career as a diplomat and international leader by working as the Director of International Affairs at the court of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who currently serves as the president of the UAE. 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 US, as well as other countries. For a short time, he also served as a non-resident ambassador to Mexico.


Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba provides personal and professional support to charitable organizations and humanitarian relief efforts in the US and around the world. His efforts have supported a number of causes, notably those focused on public health, equality through sports and disaster recovery.

Alongside his wife, Abeer, Ambassador Al Otaiba has been a long-time supporter of programs and institutions local to Washington, DC. Wanting to give back to the Children’s National Hospital — which provided excellent 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.