UAE Embassy Diplomats Conduct Regional Outreach Visit to Ohio

May 14, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC (26 April 2013) – Last week, officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington, DC, Dr. Saghira Al Ahbabi – Second Secretary, Political Department and Saud Al Nowais – UAE Commercial Counselor to the US, visited the cities of Akron and Columbus, Ohio. While in Ohio, they met with civic and commercial leaders, as well as students, to discuss the growing commercial and cultural ties between Ohio and the UAE, and to explore areas for future collaboration.

During the meetings in Columbus and Akron, the officials discussed ways to enhance trade and deepen commercial ties between UAE and Ohio. They also explored opportunities for greater cooperation, and new partnerships, between Emirati and Ohio cultural and educational institutions.

Ohio is already one of the top exporting states to the UAE. In 2012, the state exported over $560 million of merchandise goods to the UAE, increasing from just over $44 million in 1999. Over this period, bilateral trade between Ohio and the UAE has grown faster than another country.. Major exports from Ohio include aerospace components, automotives, and tires. 

Many Ohio companies have also formed strong partnerships with companies in the UAE. For instance, The Cleveland Clinic is working with Mubadala Development Company to create, manage and operate a new world‐class hospital in the UAE. The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is set to open in 2014.

There are currently 32 Emirati students attending Ohio colleges and universities throughout the state.

While in Columbus, Ohio’s state capital, the diplomats were received by a representative from the Office of the Governor at the Ohio State House. During their visit, they discussed methods to continue expanding the trading relationship between Ohio and the UAE.

In both Columbus and Akron, the UAE Embassy diplomats spoke about careers in public diplomacy and international affairs topics with students from Akron Public High Schools and Columbus Alternative High School.

In Akron, the diplomats met with business leaders in the polymer research, manufacturing, and logistics fields. They also were interviewed by a local radio station affiliated with the University of Akron.

The diplomats visited Akron and Columbus as part of the UAE Embassy's ongoing public diplomacy program to educate Americans on the deep UAE-US bilateral relationship.  Ambassador Al Otaiba and Embassy diplomats plan to visit additional US cities this year.