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.
Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America Yousef Al Otaiba has many duties. In addition to deepening security ties between the United States and the U.A.E., Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has been tasked with helping entities in the two countries find new ways to cooperate economically.
The ambassador’s efforts include arranging visits to regions around the United States for embassy personnel. In July 2013, one such trip brought several embassy officials to Nashville, Tennessee, where they met with leaders in business and government to talk about ways in which Tennessee and the U.A.E. could cooperate economically.
Tennessee’s exports to the U.A.E., which include automotive parts, medical equipment, and aerospace products, have been growing rapidly over the past decade, and the state currently ranks 11th in the United States in terms of exports to the Middle Eastern nation. Embassy officials talked with the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development as well as with leaders from the Nashville Health Care Council and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce during their trip.
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.
Thanks to the efforts of diplomats such as Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to the United States, the United States and the UAE currently cooperate on many important political and economic issues.
Through a concerted joint effort, the United States and the UAE work hard to ensure the continuing stability of the Arabian Gulf region. For more than two decades, the UAE has supported the United States in many important military endeavors, including Operation Desert Storm and U.S. expeditions into Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. In addition to hosting more than 2,000 United States military personnel, the UAE supports the U.S. Air Force by providing vital facilities and logistics at Al Dhafra Air Base. The UAE also draws on its own military strength, regularly deploying UAE armed forces in conflicts such as the Gulf War and United Nations Operations in Kosovo and Somalia.
Given its location in the Middle East, the UAE assumes a large measure of responsibility for eradicating the threat of terrorism in the region. The UAE contributes to the fight against terrorism by enacting aggressive export control laws, participating on joint task forces on terrorist financing and nuclear proliferation, and cooperating with United States intelligence agencies. The UAE has also signed on to a number of anti-terrorism agreements, including the Proliferation Security Initiative and the U.S. Container Security Initiative. To bolster its own military capabilities, the UAE maintains several military equipment initiatives with the United States, including the Hawk Air Defense System missiles, C-17 aircraft, and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
One of the most important areas of bilateral cooperation between any two nations, trade relations serves as a pillar of the collaborative efforts between the UAE and the United States. The largest U.S. export market in the Middle East, the UAE plays host to some 750 U.S. corporations and pegs its currency to the value of the dollar. Throughout the years, the UAE has made significant investments in U.S. holdings, increasing the liquidity of U.S. capital markets and providing increased job security for American workers. Furthermore, at the US-UAE Business Council, corporate representatives from both countries pledged to take advantage of bilateral business opportunities.
The UAE currently stands as the only nation in the Arabian Gulf to allow private entities to participate in the domestic oil and gas industry. In particular, U.S. oil company ExxonMobil maintains a strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) while Occidental Petroleum plays a significant role in the importation of natural gas to the U.S. Additionally, the UAE is the single largest buyer of commercial passenger aircraft from The Boeing Company, a major defense and aeronautics developer in the United States.
Dignitaries from the United Arab Emirates such as Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba and his predecessors have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with dignitaries from the United States since the early 1970s. In 1971, President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan joined six independent states to form the UAE. One year later, Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital city, established a U.S. Embassy, which served as an official conduit of communication between the two countries.
In 1974, this act was reciprocated, and a U.S. Embassy opened in Washington, D.C. By the dawn of the 1980s, the UAE and U.S. had initiated thriving lines of commerce, enabling U.S. companies to have involvement in the UAE’S oil industry and the opening of Dubai’s General Motors Middle East. The year 1984 saw the UAE support the U.S. in its Iran-Iraq War efforts. Following this camaraderie, the UAE declared official support of all U.S. troops and allowed free passage to foreign ships traversing the Gulf.
The two countries continued to support and protect one another into the 1990s. After Iraq invaded Kuwait, Abu Dhabi worked with the U.S. to provide financial aid and logistics information throughout Operation Desert Storm. More U.S. business made its way into the UAE with the opening of the McDonald’s franchise, introducing citizens to one of their ally’s most popular fast food chains. As the UAE continued to broaden its cultural horizons with increased educational opportunities, the first American institution of higher learning, the American University in Dubai, was established.
The 2000s began with various UAE and U.S. cities such as Abu Dhabi and Houston and Dubai and Detroit, becoming sister cities to one another. The U.S. displayed deep respects when His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan passed away in 2004. Colin Powell, then U.S. Secretary of State, spoke highly of His Highness, remembering his generosity and support of the U.S. over the years.
Given the strong foundations between the two countries in business, recreation, and politics, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and other government officials predict the U.S. and UAE will continue their prosperous relations well into the 21st century and beyond.