Friday, January 24, 2014

Ambassador Yousef al Otaiba

Most people have a vague idea that an ambassador is a citizen who is appointed by the head of their government to act as their representative in a foreign country, and who resides in the country to which they are appointed in order to perform certain diplomatic functions on behalf of their home government. Our country currently has 133 ambassadors appointed to different countries with whom we have a relationship, as well as to the United Nations. In addition, there are 294 U.S. Embassies and foreign consulates. There are 169 foreign ambassadors in the United States, and less than one dozen countries with whom we have diplomatic relations, but who have no ambassador appointed to represent them. The countries with whom we have no diplomatic relations and who have no ambassador serving here are Bhutan, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomatic official acting as a representative of their country to foreign governments.

Ambassadors are nominated by the President and approved or rejected by the Senate. There is no formal education required to become an ambassador, but many have degrees in business or foreign policy and a high level of government experience. One of the most surprising ambassadorships is that of former child star Shirley Temple Black, who was Ambassador to Ghana from 1974 - 1976, and Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 - 1992, among her other political appointments.

The chief role of an ambassador is to promote the culture and values of their home country to citizens of the country to which they're appointed, to act as an information center for students and potential visitors to their country and to provide services for citizens of their home country on foreign soil. They also often host public and cultural events to share their arts, music and history with citizens of their host country. All foreign embassies are located in Washington, D.C., with consulates located in such major U.S. cities as Atlanta, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The consulates act to provide help and services to their citizens located in these cities and the regions of the country where they're located, and to promote financial and business interests for their home country in these regions. United States embassies and consulates located in foreign countries serve the same functions in their host countries. Ambassadors can be withdrawn from a country at any time due to such things are armed conflict or accusations of human rights violations.

Ambassadors to the United Nations act in a slightly different capacity to traditional ambassadors. Ambassadors to this organization report to their respective state departments back home about U.N. matters and make recommendations to their governments regarding budgetary and security concerns. They can also pledge or withhold the support of their government regarding U.N. resolutions and fiscal matters.

Ambassador Yousef al Otaiba, the representative of the UAE in the U.S., is an example of a modern, educated diplomat who looks at the broader picture of International relations and seeks to forge alliances and find new solutions to the world's economic and security problems. It's essential for current and future world leaders to learn about other societies in order to understand them and bridge the gaps that separate different cultures. This can help foster an air of friendship and cooperation among the nations of the world and increase regional and global stability.

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