WASHINGTON, DC (10 April 2013) – Representatives from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington, DC, Dr. Saghira Al Ahbabi – Second Secretary, Political Department, and Talal Kaissi – Chief of Staff and Advisor to the Commercial Counselor, visited the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While in Pittsburgh, they met with civic and commercial leaders as well as students to discuss the growing commercial ties between Western Pennsylvania and the UAE, and to explore areas for future collaboration.
The representatives met community and business leaders at a breakfast convened by the American Middle East Institute (AMEI). The UAE Embassy Diplomats also met with the Allegheny Conference on Economic Development, an organization that works to attract investment into the Western Pennsylvania region. During the meetings, the officials discussed ways to enhance trade, in order to deepen commercial ties between UAE and Western Pennsylvania, and explore greater cooperation and new partnerships between Emirati and Pennsylvania cultural and educational institutions.
Dr. Saghira Al Ahbabi and Talal Kaissi were also recognized by the Pittsburgh City Council with an official City Council Proclamation that noted the strong ties between Western Pennsylvania and the United Arab Emirates.
In 2012, Pennsylvania exported over $280 million of goods to the UAE, increasing from just over $42 million in 1999. Major exports from Pennsylvania include helicopters, grain oriented steel, and cranes. Western Pennsylvania companies, such as Westinghouse and PPG Industries have a strong presence in the UAE, and are supporting major infrastructure projects there.
There are also currently 79 Emirati students attending Pennsylvania colleges and universities throughout the state.
The UAE Embassy diplomats concluded their visit by meeting with students from Mount Lebanon High School, where they discussed UAE-US partnerships and answered questions from the students about life in the UAE, the UAE's structure of government and work the UAE is doing to diversify its economy.
The diplomats visited Pittsburgh as part of the UAE Embassy's ongoing public diplomacy program to educate Americans on the deep UAE-US bilateral relationship. Embassy officials plan to visit additional US cities this year.