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UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Headshot

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Yousef Al Otaiba joined the Special Olympics Board of Directors in 2019. He has served as United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to the United States (US) since 2008 and was promoted to Minister of State in October 2017. Through his service, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has dedicated himself to improving economic ties, trade, security cooperation and friendship between the two nations.

Special Olympics Contributions

His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba was a key player in bringing the Special Olympics World Games to the UAE in 2019, marking the first time in history that the games were held in the Middle East. This event was a major sign of progress in the region, bringing together diverse people of different abilities, nationalities, backgrounds, religions and cultures. It was also one of the largest Special Olympics ever, hosting over 7,500 athletes representing 190 countries. The Ambassador visited athletes at the Team USA training camp and later joined 20 members of the USA delegation at the White House.

In July 2020, Ambassador Al Otaiba joined Special Olympics Chairman Dr. Timothy Shriver to announce a $25 million gift from His Highness Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. This grant is part of the UAE’s larger commitment to the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools (USC) and will help bring the inclusive education program to six new countries in coming years.

Philanthropic Initiatives

Ambassador Al Otaiba’s longtime passion for sports has helped facilitate various athletic initiatives that empower young people, including the UAE Embassy’s Community Soccer Program. By partnering with organizations like local Boys & Girls Clubs of America, The Cleveland Clinic, and Boston Children’s Hospital, along with Major League Soccer teams like NYCFC and FC Dallas, the program has constructed soccer fields in underserved communities throughout the US, including in New York, Chicago and Washington, DC.

The Ambassador has also worked diligently to expand the UAE’s support for charitable causes in the US, and his work has been instrumental in developing the embassy’s UAE USA United campaign. Outside of his official duties, the Ambassador and his wife, Abeer Shoukry-Al Otaiba, have used their passions to support a number of philanthropic causes, primarily focusing on humanitarian relief, community organizations, children’s health and aid to public health institutions. Their work as co-hosts of the Children’s Ball for the Children’s National Hospital made it one of the most successful charity events in the history of Washington, DC. In addition, Ambassador Al Otaiba helped facilitate UAE support for the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National.


Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba attended Cairo American College and studied international relations at Georgetown University. He also received an international fellowship from the Industrial College of the US Armed Forces at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. In addition to the Board of Directors for the Special Olympics, Ambassador Al Otaiba also serves on the Board of Trustees of The American University in Cairo and is a member of the Leadership Council for the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership.

[Learn more about Yousef Al Otaiba]

Board of Directors


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