Preparation for a Life of Diplomacy
Yousef Al Otaiba (https://www.visualcv.com/ambassadoryousefalotaiba) was born on January 19, 1974. As the son of former OPEC president and United Arab Emirates (UAE) oil minister Mana Al Otaiba, he got a glimpse of the world of negotiation and cooperation on an international scale. As a young man, Al Otaiba attended the Cairo American College, which gave him opportunities to develop himself in an international environment. Yousef Al Otaiba continued on this international track by completing a degree at Georgetown University and accepting a fellowship at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
These experiences would position him well for his future career, particularly in terms of his understanding of the culture, politics, and institutions of the United States. Before taking a post abroad, though, Yousef Al Otaiba headed back to the UAE to serve under Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan as Director of International Affairs for the Court of the Crown Prince. During his tenure, he gained experience working with American military, diplomatic, and intelligence officials. He also persuaded other actors in the region to lend their support to the “surge” in Iraq.
Ambassadorship and Philanthropy
After a stint as the UAE’s non-resident ambassador to Mexico, Yousef Al Otaiba accepted an appointment as ambassador to the United States in 2008. Many observers have called Yousef Al Otaiba a welcomed moderate Muslim voice. He has clearly stated his opposition to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS; he has also taken a cautious approach to Iran.
Beyond his obvious duty to promote economic and political cooperation between the United States and the UAE, the ambassador has sought to cultivate a positive image of his country through various philanthropic activities. Among these activities, he has held fundraisers for institutions and organizations providing medical care to children. This includes a $150 million donation to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. The ambassador knows how to plan an event and whom to invite, a skill which he has used to raise funds for other medical centers, too. In the aftermath of natural disasters in the United States, such as Hurricane Sandy and the tornadoes that wreaked havoc in Joplin, Missouri, Yousef Al Otaiba organized emergency relief efforts for the affected areas.
Service across Administrations
In 2010, the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce recognized Yousef Al Otaiba as the Ambassador of the Year. Having straddled three different administrations during his time as ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba continues to use his networking and diplomatic skills to improve financial, military, and cultural ties between the UAE, the US, and other regional powers in the Middle East. He lives with his wife, Abeer Al Otaiba, in McLean, Virginia.