The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates recently announced that it is working towards completing an agreement that would enable it to award a grant to American cities that were hit badly by Hurricane Irma in the fall of 2017. Attorneys for the United States and the UAE are currently finalizing the agreement and hope to award a $2.775 million grant sometime this year. Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US, led this initiative after he was deeply moved by the tragedy.
The grant will be allocated over several areas across the city of Jacksonville, FL to benefit as many needy families as possible. Just under half a million dollars would go toward a school board and another $250,000 would go toward a construction company that provides affordable or no-cost construction services. The city would also retain a large portion of it to improve specific parts of the city, such as parks and neighborhoods. The Jacksonville grant is a part of a pledge that the UAE made to donate $10 million to the entire state of Florida for hurricane relief efforts.
“This is what friends do for each other in times of need and is why the UAE is excited to be working with Jacksonville on a proposal that would help communities across the city,” Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba said in a statement. He is happy that the UAE is able to support American cities in times of crisis like this.
Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has made great strides during his time in Washington to improve the relationship between the UAE and the United States. He has supported the two countries working together to solve problems varying from health issues to technology and innovation. The UAE’s support for Hurricane Irma victims demonstrates the country’s commitment to a strong relationship with the United States beyond economic ties. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba is excited to continue working to maintain this strong relationship and do more for the citizens of both countries.
Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the United States, recently attended a meeting in Washington, DC between UAE officials and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The meeting was held during UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri’s official visit to the United States, and also included the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs, the CEO of Emirates Global Aluminum, and the Commercial Attaché for the UAE to the US. The two sides met to discuss ways to enhance economic cooperation between the UAE and the US.
The meeting consisted of discussions surrounding both the current relationship between the two economies and what will come in the next phase of development, with both sides seeing investment opportunities for the future. The meeting attendees recognized that the UAE and the US continue to support each other with a mutually beneficial trade relationship. The UAE is one of the most important markets for US exports, and foreign trade between the two countries is estimated to support nearly 120,000 US jobs.
The Minister also noted that the UAE’s direct investments in the US market total about $27.5 billion, which in turn has created thousands of jobs. The total value of UAE investments in the United States is estimated to be close to $100 billion. He emphasized the importance of the two countries continuing to meet and review the opportunities and challenges that face the UAE and the US.
Ambassador Al Otaiba is committed to using his time in Washington to further improve relations between the UAE and the US. He specifically cares about driving growth through the healthcare and technology sectors, and has supported initiatives that encourage cooperation between the two countries. The UAE-US economic partnership is fast-growing and reflects both countries’ openness to international trade and investment.
Mr. Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the US, recently traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to meet with Cleveland Clinic leaders and local officials. The UAE has had a close relationship with the Cleveland community for many years. Cleveland Clinic opened a hospital in Abu Dhabi three years ago, and the Embassy also sponsored the construction of the Glenville Community Soccer Field last year. Ambassador Al Otaiba participated in a panel discussion with local business leaders and then visited the newly dedicated field. He also visited with Emirati patients at the clinic after the panel discussion.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has been extremely successful since opening its doors in 2015. It treats more than 400,000 patients from over 70 different countries each year, and employs 5,000 people. The Clinic is now working on plans to open a third facility in London by 2021.
The Ambassador is thrilled with the success of the clinic. Looking towards the future of the clinic, Mr. Al Otaiba said: “We’ve started with the Cleveland Clinic, the Rolls-Royce of healthcare in the United States, maybe.in the world. We’ve built the engine.”
As the partnership between the UAE and the clinic has strengthened over the years, citizens in both the UAE and the US have been positively impacted. The UAE embassy proudly sponsors sports programming at local Cleveland schools, and the Clinic has attracted even more tourists to Abu Dhabi. Cleveland also sent $600 million in goods to the UAE last year, placing them as the seventh largest state exporter to the country.
Ambassador Al Otaiba is committed to strengthening UAE-US relations through innovations in the healthcare and technology sectors.
The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Digital Competitiveness Center recently released their 2018 digital competitiveness rankings. The UAE came in at #17 overall, and was the only Arab country in the top 20. The research team studied 63 economies and quantified the technological transformation of each country over the past year. The UAE earned its spot by implementing new digital strategies and initiatives. This is an exciting recognition for Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the US, who has always been a strong advocate for furthering technology and innovation.
In addition to being #17 overall, the UAE also placed well in the study’s subcategories. The Gulf nation was ranked first in Business Agility and fourth in Talent. These rankings demonstrate that the global business community has taken notice of the UAE’s investment in talent to improve its business environment. Members of the research team at IMD emphasized that in order for a country to stay competitive in the long term, there needs to be a framework of knowledgeable people who are equipped for changes in the digital space. The UAE’s strength in both of these subcategories will help them improve their overall digital competitiveness in the years to come.
The UAE’s work toward growing its digital competitiveness goes beyond the country’s borders. Ambassador Al Otaiba has led many initiatives between the UAE and the US to improve diplomatic relations while also innovating in the business, energy, and healthcare sectors, among others. Major companies in both the UAE and the US are members of the US-UAE Business Council in Washington, DC. There is also a partnership between the World Wildlife Fund (based in the US) and the government of Abu Dhabi to create Masdar City, which is a waste-free and carbon neutral city. Finally, the UAE has partnered with several healthcare facilities in the United States such as The New England Center for Children to assist with funding for research and treatment.
The United Arab Emirates and the United States recently completed discussions about civil aviation. The meetings reaffirmed the 2002 UAE-US Air Transport Agreement and kept all previously agreed upon terms in place. UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba led the discussions, and he was very pleased with the outcome.
“All the terms and provisions of the Air Transport Agreement including Fifth Freedom rights remain fully in place, with UAE and US airlines free to continue to add and adjust routes and services,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba.
At the end of the meeting, both parties signed a Record of Discussion, reaffirming that airlines have the same rights as before under the ATA. The UAE also added that their airlines have always been in full compliance with the terms of the agreement.
Fifth Freedom Rights refer to the ability of airlines to fly between foreign countries as part of a multi-stop trip from their own country. FedEx, a US-based company, takes full advantage of these rights and currently has a regional hub in Dubai.
The UAE is proud to have two airlines in the United States, Emirates and Etihad Airways, that serve 12 US gateways with over 100 flights a week. These flights have generated billions of dollars of revenue for both the UAE and US economies. In fact, UAE airlines are the largest non-US purchasers of US commercial aircrafts. In addition to the economic benefit of the flights, aviation has also promoted diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Ambassador Al Otaiba has always been a strong proponent of the UAE and the US working together. His time in Washington is often spent finding new ways for the two countries to collaborate, usually in the fields of science and technology or business.
New York City’s Central Park hosted the 14th Annual UAE Healthy Kidney10K Run on Sunday, April 29, 2018. The event attracted 7,500 runners from all around the city, country and world. Additionally, the race featured cultural activities from one of the sponsors, United Arab Emirates. UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba expressed his gratitude to the event sponsors and emphasized how significant the race is to the UAE’s late founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Participants in the event included American runner Laura Thweatt and Buze Diriba from Ethiopia. The UAE Embassy supported the race by raffling off prizes and putting on other festivities including Emirati cultural experiences.
Ambassador Al Otaiba has always been a supporter of bringing Emirati and American cultures together. In December 2017, Mr. Al Otaiba signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Smithsonian Secretary Dr. David J. Skorton. The MOU outlined knowledge-building programs and future opportunities for co-hosting events. This is not the first time the UAE has collaborated with the Smithosonian Institute, and this opportunity will once again welcome new learning opportunities.
Other UAE sponsors for this year’s 10k were Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Al Habtour Foundation, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Tourism Authority, Etihad Airways, Expo 2020, Global Aerospace Logistics, International Golden Group, UAE Armed Forces Officers’ Club, the UAE Consulate in New York and Yas TV. These sponsors presented raffle prizes and giveaways at the event.
Although this event happens once a year, Ambassador Al Otaiba is constantly looking for ways to keep the UAE-US relationship strong. The Ambassador will continue to embrace more collaboration opportunities for the two countries.
The University of Chicago Medicine recently signed an agreement to provide specialized medical treatment to patients from the United Arab Emirates. This makes UChicago Medicine one of seven United States preferred healthcare providers that will serve Emirati patients. In addition to providing care in the US, UChicago Medicine will also ensure that Emirati patients receiving medical attention in the US will continue receiving care after they leave the country.
UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba remarked on the benefits of this partnership: “These institutions provide ‘best in class’ care and treatment for patients. Through partnerships and continued collaboration with leading U.S. hospitals, we will not only improve access to treatment for Emirati citizens, but also help the UAE enhance its own health care infrastructure.”
UChicago’s agreement with the UAE adds to a decade-long legacy of providing the best quality care for Emirati patients. The agreement, signed by Mr. Al Otaiba and Sharon O’Keefe, the president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, will see that this care goes above and beyond in meeting patient expectations.
The other six hospitals within the preferred provider network are Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Cincinnati Children’s, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
In April 2018, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) signed an agreement with the UAE that will allow for Emirati children to receive expert medical care. This agreement will also give Emirati healthcare professionals the chance to obtain their residency in the United States and take their skillset back to the UAE once they are certified.
Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba is eager to see how these partnerships and collaborations will unfold. In addition to new healthcare opportunities, this agreement will also open new doors for medical education in both the UAE and the US.