The Cultural Diplomacy Department at the Embassy of UAE in Washington, DC hosted their counterparts from the Embassy of Israel to support Thrive DC, a well-respected humanitarian organisation working to prevent and end homelessness by providing vulnerable people with a wide range of services to help stabilize their lives.
Dana Al Marashi, Head of the UAE embassy’s Cultural Diplomacy Department and Minister Tammy Ben-Haim, Head of the Israeli embassy’s Public Diplomacy Department led the effort of bringing diplomats and colleagues from both embassies together in planning, procuring, organizing and filling backpacks with essential items to donate to Thrive DC.
This most recent initiative was the first joint community outreach project between the embassies of the UAE and Israel in Washington, DC, an added benefit of September’s historic Abraham Accords.
Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States developed the Cultural Diplomacy Department in 2011 with the intention of bridging cultures through people-to-people exchange. Projects like this with the Israeli embassy not only help to promote culture and heritage, but also fulfill Ambassador Al Otaiba’s vision of breaking down barriers, creating friendships and opening up mutually beneficial opportunities through the department.
Though overseeing the UAE’s philanthropic efforts in the US is only one of the Cultural Diplomacy Department’s mandates, they have been constant in their efforts to identify and serve the most in-need communities over the past 10 years. They have formed partnerships with and supported a wide range of organisations and programs across the United States much like Thrive DC with food, essential personal items and cold weather gear for those in need and most vulnerable.
The UAE Embassy’s Community Soccer Program also supports youth by providing playing fields in disadvantaged areas which also serve as hubs to promote exercise, teamwork, education and a sense of community.
A steadfast partner in disaster relief, the UAE embassy in Washington, DC reaches out to offer a helping hand when natural disasters affect communities across the United States. The Cultural Diplomacy Department has overseen the embassy’s efforts to several cities where tornados and hurricanes devastated towns and cities. Through the embassy the UAE provided funds and services to rebuild after a tornado just about wiped out the city of Joplin, Missouri and when Hurricanes Sandy, Irma and Harvey landed in several areas of New York, New Jersey and Florida. The Cultural Diplomacy Department has also arranged for volunteers from the UAE to fly in and work side-by-side with American humanitarian organizations to help rebuild.
The embassy is currently engaged in efforts to revitalize the coral reefs in the Florida Keys destroyed by Hurricane Irma.
The Cultural Diplomacy Department at the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC is tasked with developing creative and unique programming to introduce, educate and promote UAE culture, heritage, innovation, art, history, sustainability and many other initiatives as part of its community outreach and partnership development with US cultural, arts, environment, wildlife and educational organisations.