In May 2013, the chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin E. Dempsey, traveled to Abu Dhabi to speak with his Emirati counterpart, Army Lieutenant General Hamad Thani al-Rumaithi, as well as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who serves as deputy supreme commander of all armed forces in the United Arab Emirates.
These military professionals opened a dialogue on integrating American and Emirati capabilities to improve security for both nations. Understanding that cooperation is the key to calming instability in the Middle East, both nations have already integrated air and missile defense, command, and control. The Middle East remains a crucial region both economically and politically, which reinforces the importance of such a collaboration.
The UAE belongs to the Gulf Cooperation Council, which also includes among its members Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait. By increasing collaboration with Emirati forces, the U.S. can strengthen ties with these other nations. While the U.S. has long enjoyed positive relations with all members of the council, General Dempsey does not underestimate the power of renewing and reinforcing the country’s existing partnerships.
In an outreach to the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the Armed Forces, in Abu Dhabi in February 2014. Their meeting, which also included Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba, and U.S. Ambassador to the UAE Michael Corbin, focused on regional security issues.
The dignitaries discussed several pressing issues regarding regional security and peace, including Iran’s nuclear program and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria.
The visit was one of two to the UAE by U.S. secretaries within a month. On March 5, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker visited the UAE on a trade mission, the first by a sitting secretary in more than a decade. Economic and security partnerships are two of the most important areas of relations between the U.S. and the UAE. In fact, 2013 marked the fifth consecutive year that the UAE received more American exports than any nation in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Earlier this year, Emirates Airlines announced it would begin flying between Washington, D.C., and Dubai beginning in September. With the addition of this route, Emirates Airlines now offers seven nonstop flights between Dubai and major American cities, including Dallas and Seattle.
Yousef Al Otaiba, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, expressed a positive response to the news. He indicated that the route will facilitate increased trade between the UAE and the United States and cited the fact that more than 800 American firms maintain offices in Dubai and the UAE as a whole. In addition, the UAE and the United States engaged in more than $18 billion worth of trade last year, an increase of more than 43 percent from 2010.
For the past four years, Yousef Al Otaiba has represented the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the country’s Ambassador to the United States. Previously, he contributed as Director of International Affairs for the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba frequently travels in the United States, working to strengthen ties and increase awareness of the positive efforts of his nation and its citizens.
Recently, Dubai submitted an application to host Expo 2020, an international event that lasts for six months and occurs every five years. The city proposes the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” which highlights the positive effects of people and countries working together to advance humankind.
Dubai’s application remains significant because no Middle Eastern, African, or South Asian nation has yet hosted an exposition of this kind. The bid includes a conference center located on 438 hectares on Dubai’s southwestern edge, as well as a world-class airport equipped to provide logistical support to participating nations. Following the event, the conference center will possess the ability to host other international and industry gatherings.
The United Arab Emirates is making many advances in education, foreign policy, the economy, and more, thanks to the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and other key figures in the countryâs government. Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the United States, promotes strong ties between the two nations with political, educational, and cultural partnerships. Ambassador Al Otaiba and the Embassy also raise awareness of charitable initiatives such as Dubai Cares.
Dubai Cares is one of the latest efforts put forth by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAEâs current Prime Minister and Vice President, and ruler of Dubai. The organizationâs focus is on improving access to the highest quality of education for children in developing countries, and is now largest nongovernmental organization (NGO) dedicated to this goal. Dubai Cares envisions a world where all children go to school. To realize this vision, Dubai Cares operates on seven key principles, which include the recognition that education is the best solution to poverty. Dubai Cares programs address four key areas: water, sanitation, and hygiene; school infrastructure; school health and nutrition; and quality of education.
Dubai Cares assists developing countries with establishing permanent institutions of learning and fostering safe environments for learning. Dubai Cares both builds and remodels schools, creating sanitary bathrooms, installing new furniture, and providing necessary supplies, as well as training and providing support for teachers. Dubai Cares also recognizes the importance of quality nutrition in increasing childrenâs abilities to learn. The organization works with school administrators to ensure effective meal programs, which provide essential nutrients and energy and alleviate the burdens of struggling parents.
Scheduled to open in December 2012, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi reflects a spirit of cooperation and enterprise between the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America; in this case, specifically between the Cleveland Clinic and Mubadala Healthcare, who agreed in 2006 to build a new hospital and clinic in Abu Dhabi. The collective endeavor expands on business and cultural partnerships that have long existed between the two governments and their peoples by sharing information and promoting health. Respected leaders, such as Yousef Al Otaiba, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the United States, follow the progress of the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi with interest because of its anticipated benefit in the delivery of medical services to the UAE and the entire Middle East region.
In 2009, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba visited the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where he toured the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute. While at the facility, he spoke with Emirati who were patients of the institute at the time. That trip made by Yousef Al Otaiba underscored the long-standing connection between the organization and the UAE, which appreciates the “patients first” mission statement of the American company. In an earlier venture located in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, the Emirates went so far as to invite the Cleveland Clinic to operate it.
The new, 360-bed Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi incorporates three floors of diagnostic and treatment centers, 13 floors of acute and critical care units, and five floors of clinics. In addition, the new facility includes a conference center, support and operational departments, and a state-of-the-art clinical simulation center that will be used for training. Moreover, the design of the facility utilizes innovative medical records technology that will simplify the process of maintaining and transferring records and data for local and international patients. The finest patient care and amenities complement the advanced equipment, techniques, and treatment that will be offered by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
Global Humanitarian Initiatives
Due in large part to the outreach efforts of foreign officials such as Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE has earned a reputation as a humanitarian nation. As an economically prosperous nation with several high-performing domestic industries, the UAE provides significant foreign aid to alleviate the effects of poverty and natural disasters. The Dubai Cares program, which increases access to primary education in developing nations, has affected more than 4 million children across 20 countries. The UAE also maintains a firm commitment to helping victims of natural disasters, contributing $100 million of relief funding after Hurricane Katrina, tsunamis in Asia, and earthquakes in Pakistan. In the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the UAE joined the United States government in delivering much-needed food and shelter to people in the affected region.
Society and Culture
Home to one of the most progressive social climates in the Gulf region, the UAE consistently seeks new ways to improve social opportunities for citizens and address some of the most pressing global and regional problems. Under the provisions of the Constitution of the UAE, women enjoy full rights and receive protection in the workplace. A number of women have reached the upper echelons of UAE government, including Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, who also earned a spot on the Forbes list of 100 most powerful women in the world in 2007.
In terms of bilateral cooperation, the UAE has forged a number of strategic partnerships with organizations and institutions of higher learning in the United States. In recent years, universities such as the Rochester Institute of Technology and New York University have initiated overseas programs or campuses in the UAE. Top-quality medical programs such as the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Cleveland Clinic have also begun to establish doctoral programs and hospitals in the UAE to improve the quality of health care. Nonprofit organizations have also established presences in the UAE, including the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation, which works with the UAE government to educate women about breast cancer.
Peace in the Region
As a leader in the Middle East and Gulf regions, the UAE sets out to cultivate peace among its neighbors. Like many nations around the world, the UAE supports a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. The UAE actively supports programs that provide aid to the West Bank and Gaza regions, including the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and the UN Development Program. Over the years, charitable organizations in the UAE have contributed more than $500 million to humanitarian projects such as the construction of a girl’s school in the Damascus area. The UAE also provides valuable funding for people in Iraq, including training for Iraqi police, scholarships for Iraqi students in the UAE, and medical services for Iraqi children.