When it comes to history, I feel as if anticipating the future (of history) is just as important as understanding the past. In a recent publication from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates argues against the myth that “poor countries are doomed to stay poor.” Moreover, he believes that “there will be almost no poor countries left in the world,” by 2035.
For the most part, I tend to agree.
A prime example of this would be the United Arab Emirates. This collective nation has come a long way since the early 1900s. Formerly under British rule, the United Arab Emirates greatly profited from the pearling industry. However, by the middle of the 1900s the Japanese’s ability to create cultured pearls and the world-wide depression of the 1930s caused the nation to economically suffer. It was not until oil exports commenced in 1969, that Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the de facto ruler of Dubai, was able to use oil revenues to vastly improve the nation. Since then many leaders have worked to make the United Arab Emirates what it is today–one noteworthy individual is Yousef Al Otaiba.
Yousef Al Otaiba is the current United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States of America. He assumed office on July 28, 2008, after presenting his credentials to then-President George W. Bush. Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba served as a non-resident ambassador to Mexico. More important, he served as the Director of International Affairs of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi for seven years. During his tenure, he was a senior advisor to His Highness General Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
In his role as counselor to the Crown Prince, Yousef Al Otaiba strengthened both the security of the Emirates and (more importantly) the economic relations in the region. His focus included national security issues, anti-terrorism advocacy, export control laws, regional defense and more.
Currently, Yousef Al Otaiba arranges beneficial partnerships between UAE representatives and various economic interests in the United States and around the world. He also leads multinational talks regarding sovereign wealth funds. At one of his first official events as Ambassador to the United States, he outlined his vision for global cooperation through business and investments.
In an effort to enhance cultural ties between the United Arab Emirates and the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba established the Oasis Foundation of Washington, DC. Under the ambassador’s direction, the foundation promotes awareness and mutual understanding of the national cultures, their differences and their similarities. As his foundation focuses on charity, Al Otaiba leads the fundraising efforts by example. To date, he has raised more than $528,000 for the Children’s National Medical Center to fight childhood cancer. He is also involved with various initiatives at The Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Ambassador Al Otaiba attended Cairo American College, a school in Cairo, Egypt, that strives to develop global citizens. He also studied international relations at Georgetown University, a private research university in Washington, DC. His publications and contributions include the Children’s National Medical Center, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, Embassy of the United Arab Emirates and the Abu Dhabi Media Summit. After seeing what Al Otaiba has already done for United Arab Emirates, I am fairly certain that he secured his place in the history books.
For more on Al Otaiba, check out the Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba profile page.