UAE Ambassador to US named as one of Time's 100 Influential People 2020
Dubai: Yousuf Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US, has made it to the list of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020, standing with the likes of US director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, Black Lives Matter founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, as well as Indian actor Ayushmann Khurrana.
Time Magazine made the announcement on Tuesday night, in which the annual list is made up of 100 of the year’s most influential leaders, artists, icons, titans and pioneers.
According to the magazine, the UAE’s ambassador has now become “the public face of a reshaped Middle East”, and was recognised for his role in the UAE’s formal recognition of Israel in August, “by laying out a deal for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an Israeli newspaper: abandon plans to annex Palestinian land, in exchange for diplomatic ties.”
In a You Tube video published on September 18, Al Otaiba delivered New Year's greetings to the Jewish Council of the Emirates. Kicking off the first Shabbat service of the year, he celebrated the recent Abraham Accords Declaration in Washington.
In his biography posted on the embassy’s website, Al Otaiba took up the Washington-based post in July 2008 to enhance UAE-US relations, improve bilateral security and economic cooperation. In addition to leading efforts that increased military, intelligence and counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries, he also played a critical role to facilitate the landmark US-UAE 123 Agreement for Peaceful Civilian Nuclear Energy Cooperation, which came into force in 2009.
He also worked closely with his counterparts in government and with business leaders to promote greater UAE and US economic and trade ties. Since becoming Ambassador, bilateral trade increased over 70 percent, solidifying the UAE’s position as the US’ largest trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa. UAE investments in the US expanded, and prominent US healthcare, education and cultural institutions, such as Cleveland Clinic, New York University and the Guggenheim, established new UAE branches. In addition, the UAE and US governments established a formal Economic Policy Dialogue and cooperated on ways to streamline travel for Emirati nationals between the two countries.
Al Otaiba has also led the UAE’s significant commitment to philanthropic activities in the US. The program is predicated on preserving and advancing the strong friendship between the UAE and the United States. In 2009, he facilitated a transformational gift from the Government of Abu Dhabi to launch the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, and personally assists Children’s National with its fundraising efforts.
The Ambassador has also led the UAE’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in the US, emphasising the importance of diplomacy, healthcare policy and the UAE’s commitment to protecting the public from the spread of COVID-19. Through innovative community partnerships, the UAE Embassy has already constructed 11 soccer fields around the US to benefit kids in underserved communities, which is set to expand further in the coming years.